Now that voters have approved a 1.25-mill permanent-improvements levy for the New Albany-Plain Local School District, leaders say they will focus on roof repairs.
The five-year levy, which received 64 percent of votes in its favor Nov. 7, must be used for capital-asset repairs and replacements.
Roofing is the most critical need the district has at this time, school board President John McClelland said, and those repairs should prevent other problems down the road.
The nine buildings in the New Albany High School complex are the first priority, said Superintendent Michael Sawyers. The district campus has 16 buildings, including the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts, according to spokesman Patrick Gallaway.
In the main high school building, one of the science classrooms has water dripping from the ceiling because of a lack of roof shingles, Sawyers said.
"It is deteriorating," he said.
The performing-arts building has similar issues, he said.
Current conditions and bid pricing will determine which buildings are repaired first, Sawyers said.
He said he expects construction bids to come to the school board for review and approval by early December and he estimated construction could begin in summer 2018.
"I'm not going to drag my feet," he said.
District leaders also will solicit bids for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning repairs, Sawyers said. Ideally, they will receive bids by January or February, he said.
The oldest buildings on campus at which HVAC repairs could be needed include buildings in the high school complex and the primary school, he said. The middle school also has a cafeteria boiler that needs to be examined, he said.
The levy will generate approximately $1.2 million annually for five years, Sawyers said.
District leaders also have committed to drawing $1.3 million annually from the general-revenue fund for capital-asset repairs and replacements.
According to district estimates, $12.7 million is needed over five years for capital improvements. The district already spends an average of $1.3 million per year from the general-revenue fund on capital improvements, but to meet all needs, an average of $2.5 annually would need to be spent, leaders have said.
The permanent-improvements levy will afford the district more flexibility when it comes to planning a future funding request, McClelland said.
The district most likely will be able to wait longer to request operating funds or go to voters with a much smaller millage request, he said.
"We're very thankful to the community for their support of this levy," McClelland said.
The levy -- designated Issue 42 on the Nov. 7 general-election ballot -- was approved 2,522 votes to 1,429 votes, according to unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections.
The levy will cost $153.13 per year for taxpayers with homes with a market value of $350,000, according to district treasurer Rebecca Jenkins. That equates to $43.75 annually per $100,000 of property value.
To put that into perspective, the owner of a home with a $350,000 market value currently pays approximately $6,400 annually in school-district property taxes, she said. The $6,400 estimate doesn't include any of the other central Ohio governments and agencies that collect property taxes.
That amount also should decrease slightly because 2.5 mills to repay bond debt is expected to come off the books at the end of December, Jenkins said. Taxpayers with a $350,000 home valuation currently pay an annual cost of $267.97 for that 2.5 mills of debt service, she said.
The new levy is the first permanent-improvements levy approved in more than a decade and the district's first successful ballot issue in the past five years.
Voters approved a previous permanent-improvements levy in 2004. The district allowed the five-year levy to expire in 2009, and its funds were depleted in 2014, according to Jenkins.
An operating levy was last approved in 2012 with Issue 50, which included a 2.59-mill bond to build the facility now known as New Albany Intermediate School and a 4.24-mill permanent operating levy to generate $3.51 million.
In November 2014, voters rejected a 6.9-mill operating levy and a 2-mill permanent-improvements levy. Both levies would have been permanent.