On June 24, the Southeastern Local School Board unanimously passed resolutions needed to place a combined bond issue and income tax levy for school construction on the Nov. 2 ballot.
The bond portion of the request, estimated to be 4.36 mills, would generate approximately $7.9 million. The maximum maturity on the bonds is 37 years, though Treasurer Brad McKee said that number could be rolled back if construction estimates come in lower than expected.
The 0.5 percent income tax would generate an estimated $4.4 million over 25 years.
The combined $12.3 million represents half of the estimated cost to build a new kindergarten through 12th grade building on the Miami View School property. The Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) will pay for the other half, if voters pass the local share.
As for why the district is asking for a combination of taxes, Superintendent David Shea said,Were trying not to pull all the money from property tax. Were trying to be fair to everyone.
As for why the district is pursuing an OSFC project now, McKee said this is the first time the state has offered to pay its 50 percent immediately upon the district passing its local share. In the past, the state required Southeastern to foot the entire bill up front, with the state paying its share later.
“My personal belief is that the community needs new schools, Shea said. The oldest part of the high school was built in 1927. Miami View was built in 1969.If the district doesnt utilize (the state money) now, in 10, 15 or 20 years if this program is no longer operating and we have to totally use district money for buildings, what will it cost then?
Shea emphasizes, though, that the goal in placing the issue on the ballot is to present the public with the information and let them decide.
“For me to say we need new schools is one thing. Its really a community decision… My main goal is just to let them have a vote, he said.
The district has until next August to pass the local share of the funding before the states offer expires.
When OSFC offers funding to a school district, they assess the condition of the districts existing buildings, then present options they are willing to take part in funding. In Southeasterns case, the assessments showed that renovation of the high school and Miami View would cost more than two-thirds the cost to build new facilities. When a building breaks the two-thirds rule, OSFC requires new construction.
McKee said school leaders long ago agreed one K-12 building would be the most feasible for the district financially and still serve the students well.
An advisory committee helped to shape the levy request the district is putting on the ballot. The request does not include locally funded initiatives, which are extra amenities or upgrades not covered by OSFC.
If the levy passes, the committee also will help to decide what form the building will take. McKee said the group and school leaders already have some ideas, including the fact that the building would be at least two stories and configured to allow for future expansion.
The fate of the existing buildings is not certain at this time. The levy includes money for demolition, as required by OSFC, though Shea said the consensus is to leave the high school intact so that sports teams can use the gym and students and the community can use the auditorium. The Miami View building could be razed to make room for athletic fields.
The school boards next meeting is at 6 p.m. July 20 in the central office. The board will vote on the final resolution needed to place the school construction issue on the ballot.