After more than two years of community outreach and planning, the Upper Arlington Board of Education took the final step last week to place a combined 8.92-mill levy and bond issue on the November ballot.
The unanimous vote June 28 was in keeping with recommendations from the district's administration and a volunteer Financial Advisory Board.
If approved, the 3.75-mill operating levy would generate approximately $6.3 million in additional annual revenue for day-to-day expenses, such as teacher salaries, instructional and pupil support, technology and transportation.
Passage of the 5.17-mill bond issue would result in an influx of approximately $230 million over 38 years, according to district officials.
The bond money, plus a targeted minimum of $5 million in private donations, would fund the reconstruction of Upper Arlington High School and its athletics facilities, as well as renovations to each of the district's five elementary schools. District buildings are on average more than 63 years old.
"So many members of our community have dedicated their time to the creation of the (district facilities) master plan," board President Robin Comfort said. "We are happy to honor that work -- truly an unprecedented collaborative effort -- by bringing this ballot issue to the voters for consideration."
If passed, the combined levy-bond package would increase overall property taxes by 14 percent, based on current tax rates.
It would result in an increase of $312 per $100,000 of home valuation annually, as determined by the Franklin County Auditor's Office. The owner of a $400,000 home would pay an additional $1,249 in property taxes each year, according to the district.
The added revenue would allow the district to move forward with the first phase of a plan to rebuild, enhance and enlarge the high school and elementary buildings.
Those projects call for:
* Rebuilding the high school to face Zollinger Road and relocating its athletic facilities on the site.
* Renovating Barrington and Tremont elementary schools; rebuilding Wickliffe and Windermere elementary schools; and rebuilding all but the 1997 and 2009 additions at Greensview Elementary.
* Addressing drainage issues and installing a turf field and baseball/softball diamonds on district-owned land behind Tremont Elementary School that's adjacent to Northam Park and is used by high school teams for practice and competition.
* Raising at least $5 million in private donations to offset the cost of the master plan to homeowners. It would mark the largest private fundraising campaign in the district's history.
In addition to those first-phase master plan projects, the district has committed to exploring the possibility of selling the district's central office and using the funds from the sale for relocation, potentially at the high school.
Those strategies, contingent on passage of the levy and bond issue, also call for working with the community to identify $23 million in reductions to the scope of the first-phase projects.
"As a district, we are doing our due diligence to be prepared for a community-driven design phase, if voters approve the funding for the first phase of the master plan," Chief Operating Officer Chris Potts said. "We won't enter into any agreements with these companies unless our community approves the funding to proceed with these projects."
Should the levy and bond pass and the facilities plan proceeds, the district would delay asking for an estimated $53.2 million in funding for repairs to two middle schools and Burbank Early Childhood School for 10 years.
"The community-driven facilities master planning process has brought together thousands of residents to determine the best path forward for our schools, our students and our community," Comfort said. "We are excited to move forward with this ballot issue to put our community's master plan into action."