Upper Arlington schools will move forward with plans to build a new high school and renovate five elementary buildings after voters approved a combined 8.92-mill levy and bond issue Nov. 7.
According to unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections, Issue 43 passed by a count of 8,194 (55 percent) for the levy and bond, and 6,785 (45 percent) against.
The vote comes after district officials spent approximately three years pitching facilities needs to the community.
“It’s a great night,” Superintendent Paul Imhoff said. “History was made tonight in UA. We truly believe our future is going to be even brighter than our past.”
In passing Issue 43, voters approved a 3.75-mill operating levy the district says will 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.
They also signed off on a 5.17-mill bond issue designed to bring in approximately $230 million over 38 years.
The bond money, plus a targeted minimum of $5 million in private donations, will 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.
Imhoff said under the Upper Arlington Board of Education’s direction, the district devoted time and energy to include the community in shaping the facilities plan.
He noted more than 8,000 “touchpoints” with community members were made during numerous public meetings, more than 170 in-house gatherings, surveys and other outreach activities.
“We will be celebrating our centennial in 2018,” he said. “The community really committed themselves for our next 100 years.
“The board of education said when we started this process three years ago this would have to be a community-driven process.”
Based on current taxes, the combined levy-bond package will increase overall property taxes in Upper Arlington by 14 percent.
It will 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 will pay an additional $1,249 in property taxes each year, according to the district.
The additional bond revenue will 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 adjacent to Northam Park that 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 its central office and using the funds from the sale for relocation, potentially at the high school.
The strategy also calls for working with the community to identify $23 million in reductions to the scope of the first-phase projects.