While work on constructing an addition to Bolton Crossing Elementary School is underway, the South-Western City School District is preparing to place a bond issue on the November ballot to help fund the second phase of its Ohio Facilities Construction Commission project.
The school board is expected to vote at its Monday, July 9, meeting on authorizing the bond issue, a 1.86-mill issue that would be a no-new-millage measure, Superintendent Bill Wise said.
The bond issue language that could be on the November ballot would not take into account the debt retirement that would allow the district to place the bond issue with no added millage for property taxpayers, Wise said.
The board approved a resolution of necessity for the ballot measure June 11. According to the resolution, the bonds would be issued in the amount of $93,400,000; would be dated approximately Dec. 1; would bear interest at the estimated rate of 5.50 percent per annum; and would be paid over a period not to exceed 38 years.
The second phase would include construction of new buildings for Brookpark, Finland, Norton and Pleasant View middle schools and improvements to Jackson Middle School and the East Franklin Elementary School building. East Franklin is currently not being used, but would be re-opened to address increased enrollment.
"We'd also be using some of the funding from the bond issue to do some asphalt work throughout the district and some much-needed roofing projects, primarily at Westland and Grove City high schools," Wise said.
The total projected cost of the OFCC project, including the school construction and asphalt and roofing work, is about $163 million, he said.
The state would provide about half of the core cost of the project, through the OFCC, Wise said.
The core cost only refers to the school-construction work, he said.
"They don't provide funds for the asphalt and roofing work, or for additional costs associated with the building project," including if an athletic facility or other component of a school site must be moved temporarily during construction and then reestablished in its regular space, Wise said.
If the board moves forward with the November issue, a levy committee would be formed and led by residents Larry Titus and Camille Peterson.
Titus, who worked on the campaign committee for the previous bond issue that funded the first phase of the OFCC, said there was "no question" he would accept when Wise asked him to help.
"Being involved with the last levy was one of the coolest things I've ever done. It's one of top things I've been involved in to make a difference in the world," he said.
"Every time I drive by one of the elementary buildings, I feel such a sense of pride. If you walk into one of the buildings, you see that we're able to provide cutting edge educational spaces for our teachers and our students," he said.
The second phase of the project would extend that to the middle-school level, Titus said.
"I hope people will support this bond issue, given the performance of the district on the last one," he said. "All the promises made were kept and the project came in on time and under budget."
Titus said work has already begun on putting the campaign committee together.
"We're trying to break it down into different areas of responsibility and having two or three people assigned to each area rather than just one," he said. "A campaign is a huge undertaking and we're trying to be as appreciative of people's time as possible."
Despite the rainy spring, work on the Bolton Crossing addition remains on schedule, Wise said.
The addition, which will include 12 new classrooms, is expected to open in January 2019.
The new space will be used for preschool classes, with 10 regular and two special-educational classrooms being built, Wise said.
About 1,000 additional grade K-4 seats were added in the first phase of the OFCC project, which concentrated mostly on constructing 13 new elementary buildings and renovating two other elementary schools.
The first phase of the OFCC project and the Bolton Crossing addition are expected to address preschool and elementary building needs in the district for the next several years, despite growth in enrollment, Wise said.
The Bolton Crossing project is being paid for with money left over from the first phase of the OFCC project, which came in on time and under budget.
"Because of the location at the Bolton Crossing site, this should prove to be a very versatile addition to the district," Wise said.