Last Thursday morning, members of the Big Walnut Local School District Board of Education gathered with members of the school district’s central office administration to hold a special meeting and work session.
While most of the session was comprised of brief overviews of the district’s operations and plans for the year ahead, one item was of special interest for district homeowners – the proposed $133.9 million bond issue that will likely appear on the November 8 General Election Ballot.
District treasurer Terri Eyerman Day said Delaware County Auditor George Kaitsa’s office has determined that the Bond Issue will fall in the 8.3-mil range.
“A motion to approve placing the bond issue on the ballot will be on the July board of education agenda,” Day said. “The 8.3-mil number is a safe estimate, but it could be lower.”
Day said at 8.3 mils the bond issue would cost district property owners 83 cents per $100 of assessed value, or about $25 per month for each $100,000 assessed value — not market value.
“We will also need a cash balance policy for the bond market,” Day said. “We have one, but the current policy is unwritten. We need to show two months of monthly expenditures plus one month in cash balance. Something written and approved needs to be in place before we go on the ballot.”
Day said if the resolution to put the bond issue on the November ballot is approved during the Thursday, July 21 board meeting, she would file the application with the Delaware County Board of Elections the following day, or Monday, July 25, at the latest. August 10 is the deadline to be on the November 8 ballot.
Members of the district’s facilities committee and Triad Architects used the district’s 2015 enrollment study, with low, most likely, and high-end student population growth projections over the next decade.
Committee members determined that by 2019 all seven of the school district’s buildings would be at capacity at the low to moderate projection range; that by 2026 the district will be serving at least an additional 2,000 students.
The committee’s final recommendation for meeting student population growth was to build a new 1,850 student high school on a new site that’s centrally located where traffic would work, move the middle school students to the high school, move the intermediate students to the middle school, and turn the intermediate school into an elementary school and consolidate in-town preschool at that facility. The recommendation also includes the construction of one new elementary building. The committee recommended going on the November ballot because of the four-to-five-year process of designing and building a new high school.
District assistant superintendent Mark Cooper said in addition to a new high school and elementary building, bond issue dollars would be used to renovate existing buildings based on changed use and age – aging AC units and boilers need upgraded or replaced, electrical upgrades are needed at several older buildings, and catching up on standard scheduled maintenance items that were delayed during the recent recession.
Other items discussed during the work session included the district’s use of technology in the classroom, the quarterly newsletter the district will launch during the coming school year, and the district’s Quality Profile, also new to the district.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093