|Eastwood survey results in|
|Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD Sentinel Education Editor|
|Saturday, 11 January 2014 08:57|
PEMBERVILLE - The results of a survey of Eastwood Schools residents are in, and a slim majority favor putting all elementary students on the main campus.
About 620 residents took the telephone survey, which ran Dec. 3-7.
According to Superintendent Brent Welker, 51 percent favored consolidating students now in Pemberville and Luckey onto the main campus on Sugar Ridge Road.
The survey indicated 36.5 percent prefer the buildings be kept in the local communities, and 12.6 percent were not sure.
Wenzel Strategies, a public opinion research and media/communications consulting company based in Columbus, conducted the survey.
The district sought input on how to spend the $675,000 the district will receive annually from a tax abatement agreement with the Home Depot distribution center in Troy Township. The district is expected to receive $10,125,000 through January 2029 because of the agreement.
The district could borrow against the Home Depot funds, Welker said, providing them with a lump sum of approximately $7.5 million in cash.
Welker said he met with Ohio Schools Facilities Commission representatives Wednesday to consider options.
Currently, Eastwood's state share of the costs for a qualifying OSFC project is 35 percent for a new school.
Constructing a new elementary would cost about $18.5 million, with the state paying $6.7 million, leaving about $12 million for the district to cover.
Welker has said the district could pay for the project without raising taxes, but debt would need to be lengthened.
The Luckey school was built in 1926, while the Pemberville building dates back to 1936, and both have a number of issues, including the need for new roofs, limited classroom and cafeteria space, and HVAC, electrical and plumbing needs.
Welker said the next step would be to plan a site for the building. He said there is plenty of land on the main campus site, although some spaces might be repurposed.
"By early spring we'll have a definite feel for what we want to build and where to build on campus," Welker stated.
"We know that people don't want to increase taxes. In this plan we think we can make that happen for them."
Currently, Eastwood collects a total of 2.8 mills from a high school addition bond issue and a permanent improvement levy.
To build a new elementary, an estimated 2.1-mill bond issue would need to be passed in 2014. The district would then start collecting the monies in 2015, and would stop collecting funds that year from the current 1.7-mill bond issue, making those payments using $300,000 of the Home Depot monies.
It would also reduce collections of the current permanent improvement levy from 1.1 mills to 0.5 mills starting in 2015. That action would actually slightly reduce the collections of current levies.
Nearly 61 percent of respondents felt the district was heading in the right direction; 32.9 percent indicated the district was doing an excellent job, and 41.9 percent a good job serving the community and students; 34.8 percent strongly agreed and 36.1 percent somewhat agreed that taxpayers were getting a good value for their money.
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