In 2012, South-Western City School District voters passed a bond issue to rebuild or renovate its elementary schools and build a new Franklin Heights High School.
This was Segment 1 of a partnership with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission in which the state paid half of the core costs of the project. In addition, the district had retiring bond debt which allowed this project to be completed at no additional cost to its taxpayers through a "no new millage" bond issue.
With Segment 1 completed, it's time to look at Segment 2 of this OFCC partnership. Segment 2 focuses on rebuilding the four oldest middle schools (Brookpark, Finland, Norton and Pleasant View), renovating Jackson Middle School, renovating East Franklin Elementary School and completing some much-needed roofing and asphalt projects.
Once again, the state will pay half of the core program costs, and the district has bond debt retiring, so Segment 2 can be completed with another "no new millage" bond issue.
A "no new millage" bond issue is exactly what it sounds like. A ballot question is placed in front of voters to allow the district to continue to collect the same millage that is currently being collected for the purpose of capital (facilities and related items) improvements.
While the ballot language is written to authorize the issuance bonds to cover the cost of the new project, it cannot take into account the retirement of future bond debt, so the result to the community is "no new millage."
On March 3, the board of education held its annual visioning meeting to prepare for upcoming events, review educational programming opportunities and discuss the future direction of the school district.
The middle schools are now the oldest buildings in the district, with Pleasant View dating back to 1959.
The board is working with its architects and the OFCC to be able to place a "no new millage" bond issue on the ballot this coming November.
Times have changed since the original middle schools were built. New school-safety procedures require additional passive and active security systems to help keep our students safe.
Additional educational technology and the resources required for students to be successful in today's online and virtual worlds require updated electrical systems to fully support them. Instructional spaces need to be flexible and aligned to current programs.
In addition, these new and renovated buildings would help our schools and community continue to attract families and businesses that value education.
Facility forums are scheduled at all five middle schools in April to allow parents and community members to hear an overview of the plans for the design of the middle schools. The sessions also will be times to provide input on the general look of the new buildings, instructional priorities, safety and security best practices, timelines and "green" schools.
The district used a similar process when building its intermediate and elementary schools.
Dates and times are listed on the district calendar at www.swcsd.us.
Bill Wise is the superintendent of the South-Western City School District.