Time’s up: School board must decide

District in line for 25% state funding of classroom space.

The board of education will meet in special session at 8 a.m. Friday, May 29, for more discussion on a master plan for classroom construction.

The option chosen by the board is a prekindergarten through eighth-grade building to be constructed at the site of the North Hyatt Street complex now home to Nevin Coppock, L.T. Ball and the Middle School.

The district is in line for 25 percent state funding of classroom space. Among other projects proposed — called locally funded initiatives — include an auxiliary gym at the high school and a new football/soccer stadium.

The latest cost estimate for classroom space, swing space allowance (where some students would be housed during construction), demolition of old buildings and high school renovation work is $30.8 million. Another $18 million in locally funded initiatives are proposed.

Any bond issue would be required to include a 0.5-mill operating levy. The estimated millage now is 7.5 mills to cover a $52.5 million local share.

At a May 18 meeting, district Treasurer Gina Helmick told the board the locally funded projects could only be 50 percent of the district’s project share. The exception is if the Ohio Department of Taxation and the Ohio Department of Education approve a plan at more than 50 percent.

If that approval isn’t received, the board may need to cut around $2.7 million in locally funded projects, Helmick said.

The board this month added high school improvements of some $2.5 million to the plan and was told the locally funded list now would need to include money for space in the new building about equal to the size of an eighth grade class.

That’s because the high school, according to state space formulas, is 40,000 square feet oversized, space the district could use to house eighth graders, Kronour said. Because there are no plans to move the eighth grade, the district would pick up the state’s 25 percent share of the 40,000 square feet in the new building.

“It is not a huge increase to our overall price tag,” Kronour said.

Other discussions the board still must have are the fate of the buildings being replaced by the new classroom space. Those on the proposed construction site would need to be removed, but the future of the Broadway building in a separate location remains to be determined.

Although money is included in the master plan for its demolition, the district “would want to work with our community about what makes sense,” Kronour said.

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Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com.