By Rick Palsgrove
The Groveport Madison Board of Education will place a combined operating levy and bond issue on the May 7 ballot.
The proposed 6.10 mill continuing operating levy would not result in higher taxes and, if approved by the voters, would replace the current five year 6.68 mill levy that will expire on Dec. 31, 2019.
The proposed levy will be combined into one ballot issue with a proposed 37-year, 4.72 mill, $83.6 million bond issue that would generate funds to build three new pre-K through sixth grade elementary schools and one new middle school for grades seven and eight. The pre-K through sixth grade buildings would hold about 1,067 students each and the middle school would hold about 1,000 students.The bond issue would also provide funds to demolish the existing elementary schools and middle schools. If the plan is approved by voters, it would reduce the number of schools in the district from 10 to five. The locations of where the new schools would be built has not been determined.
If voters approve the bond issue to build the schools, the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission would fund 53 percent of the estimated $148.7 million project and Groveport Madison would fund 47 percent with the district’s local share being $83.6 million.
According to Groveport Madison Treasurer John Walsh, if the bond issue is approved, the estimated increased annual property tax for the owners of the following valued homes would be: $100,000 market value: $164.96; $125,000 market value: $206.20; $150,000 market value: $247.44; $175,000 market value: $288.68; and $200,000 market value: $329.92
District officials state that the bond issue is needed to: replace aging school buildings; ease student overcrowding; eliminate the 22 modular classrooms in the district; enable there to be identical academic and other programs in each school; result in less acreage to be maintained; create more overall efficiency; younger students would be separated from older students in the elementaries and buses; and provide for modern safety features (the team noted the current schools cannot be retrofitted to meet modern safety needs).
Last November, Superintendent Garilee Ogden said that, in 2012, the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission recommended the district replace all of its schools because the cost to renovate them would exceed the cost of building new. (The high school has already been replaced.)
“To bring the schools up to current standards the cost to renovate the schools would be $78 million,” said Ogden. “We could renovate them, but we’d still be in old era buildings.”
The board must file with the Franklin County Board of Elections by Feb. 6 to place the combined levy and bond issue on the May 7 ballot.