After more than two years of working together as a community to determine the best path forward for our aging schools, we are in the final stretch of this incredible, collaborative facilities master planning process.

In March, the Financial Advisory Board shared an initial findings report with suggestions for how to proceed with the master plan and our district's need for operating funding. You might recall that the Financial Advisory Board is made up of community volunteers who have significant experience in financial management and the management of considerable facilities and construction work.

Their initial findings report contained several suggestions, including:

* The implementation of the master plan over two phases, with the first phase involving rebuilding the high school and renovating or rebuilding our five elementary schools.

* An 8.92-mill combined operating levy and bond issue on the Nov. 7 ballot to fund the first phase of the master plan and the district's day-to-day operations.

During April, we asked residents to share their thoughts on these initial findings. In all, we heard from nearly 2,400 community members through community meetings April 4, an online survey, online surveys of building team volunteers and the community members on the Facilities Task Force and a scientific phone survey.

The community's contribution to the facilities master-planning process is nothing short of incredible. Since the process began almost two and a half years ago, we've had more than 8,400 points of contact -- through building teams, community meetings, community surveys and in-home coffee chats.

As has been true before, the feedback from our community is crucial to the next steps in this process.

The Financial Advisory Board's work isn't done yet. We're working to tabulate the feedback on the initial findings, and the FAB is reviewing that feedback to finalize its findings and suggest the best way for the board of education to move forward with the master plan and the district's need for an operating levy this fall.

The next milestone in this process will be the school board meeting May 9, when I'll present the results of all five data points for community feedback. The Financial Advisory Board will also share its final report. I will make a recommendation to the board regarding three parts of the master plan -- which high school rebuild option to pursue, plans for the central office building and field space behind Tremont Elementary School.

At the same meeting, Treasurer/CFO Andrew Geistfeld will make a recommendation regarding a combined operating levy and bond issue for the November ballot.

While the board is expected to take action on my recommendations during the May 9 meeting, it will not take action on the ballot issue recommendation until its meeting June 6.

I'd like to thank everyone who has taken the time to attend a meeting, fill out a survey or host or attend an in-home coffee chat throughout this process.

It has been incredible to see our community come together for the future of our schools and our students.

If you would like to learn more about the facilities master planning process, please visit As always, if you have any questions, please reach out to me at (614) 487-5030 or

Paul Imhoff is superintendent of Upper Arlington schools. This column is provided to ThisWeek Upper Arlington News by his office.