The Upper Arlington school district will host another round of open houses this month at buildings that would receive funding for reconstruction and renovation through a combined 8.92-mill levy and bond issue that will be before voters in November.
In what district officials say is a bid to be transparent about school-building needs and to provide opportunities for the public to gain insights into local facilities, tours of its five elementary buildings are scheduled at 7 p.m. Sept. 12.
The district also will allow residents to walk through Upper Arlington High School during an open house slated for 7 p.m. Sept. 19.
The events follow similar tours led by staff members Aug. 2.
The open houses are offered so residents can see why they'll be asked to support a 3.75-mill operating levy and 5.17-mill bond Nov. 7, according to district officials.
"The tours are part of the board of education's commitment to transparency in the facilities master planning process," Superintendent Paul Imhoff said. "You will see the full picture of the physical condition of our schools – from the classrooms to the basements and boiler rooms – so you can form your own opinion before voting on a combined operating levy and bond issue on Nov. 7."
If approved, the combined 8.92-mill levy and bond would generate approximately $6.3 million in additional, annual revenue for day-to-day district expenses, such as teacher salaries, instructional and pupil support, technology and transportation.
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.
In return, district officials say the levy and bond, 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.
"During the last year, we have heard from residents that they hoped we would offer another round of building tours," district Chief Operating Officer Chris Potts said. "Many people only see inside their own children's schools or haven't had an opportunity to go inside one of our schools in a while.
"This is a way to welcome everyone inside and let them see both the strengths and areas of need in our buildings."
A complete rundown of facilities needs the district has identified, as well as planned improvements to the high school and five elementary schools, is available at uaschools.org.
Should the levy and bond pass and the facilities plan proceed, 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.
Potts referred to the tours as "informal walk-throughs."
"The elementary schools will be open for tours on Sept. 12," he said. "The high school will be open for tours on Sept. 19. The principals will lead visitors through classrooms and other educational spaces, as well as mechanical rooms, basements and other areas not seen as often.
"Our principals are happy to take questions."