Madison-Plains hears school building options

On Nov. 6, the Madison-Plains school board met with representatives from the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) to learn about funding for possible renova-tions of existing school buildings or construction of entirely new ones.

The OSFC is an Ohio pro-gram created in 1997 to provide funding and assistance to school districts in need of improved facilities. OSFC sent Lisa Laney, planning manager, Todd Hager, project administrator, Steve Lutz, chief of planning, and Rick Savors, chief of communications, to speak at the Nov. 6 meeting.

Madison-Plains is looking into two op-tions that OSFC offers. The expedited program allows a district to start the building process ahead of their “turn” on the state’s priority list, but requires the district to raise local funding up front with the state money coming later. Madison-Plains Treasurer Scott Hiles said the district is on the list to receive state funding roughly within the next two years He also noted that Madison-Plains applied for this program about seven years ago, but did not go through with it.

OSFC’s “exceptional needs” program, intended for schools whose buildings pose a health or safety risk to students, is another option for Madison-Plains.

For either program, a demographer would conduct a survey of the school and compare the student population to the amount of academic space in the school, excluding spaces such as cafeterias and gymnasiums. The survey information then would be compared to the general popula-tion of the school district. Depending on the program, OSFC would estimate what the population would be five or 10 years from now and calculate the amount of school space that would be needed.

According to Laney, OSFC assists school districts by paying a portion of the cost of building a new schools or renovating old ones. The percentage of the bill paid by OSFC is determined by a formula that takes into account, among other factors, a school district’s debt and what an acceptable amount of debt for that school district would be. Using the formula, OSFC placed Madison-Plains at 64 percent on the “equity list,” said Laney, meaning the district would pay 64 percent of the bill for construction or renovations, and OSFC would pay the remaining 36 percent.

In the “exceptional needs” program, the state money would be spent first, giving the district’s money time to collect interest, “which creates sort of a cushion,” Laney said. In addition to paying money up front to assist with building costs, the state will assist the district with any budget over-runs resulting from unforeseen circumstances.

“The state is in on the cost at the front end, and it shares in the cost at the back end,” Laney said.

After the presentation, community members had the chance to ask questions. One man asked, “Does this all hinge on a bond issue?”

Savors said, “The vast majority [of school districts] have gone to the ballot to raise [the local share of] the money.”

Another person asked if private com-panies ever get involved. Savors said there have been many instances of third parties sharing in the cost of a new school building so that they can share the use of the building.

“We’re starting to see it more and more,” Savors said. “I think it’s a sign of the economic times.”

Previous articleVoters say no to school levy
Next articleBexley city workers could see pay raise

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.