Lake waiting on late state funds
Written by DEBBIE ROGERS Sentinel Staff Writer
Friday, 21 December 2012 10:03
MILLBURY - The Lake Board of Education is impatiently waiting for its last installment of a $2.1 million state grant to cover expenses from the 2010 tornado that destroyed the high school.
After Wednesday's meeting, Treasurer Jeff Carpenter said the school district should have received its final payment of $680,000 from the Ohio Department of Education last month.
Board president Tim Krugh said if the money isn't received by Jan. 3, the district will have to look at other options to secure the payment. The district has received some late payment notices from companies.
"For some reason, it's been difficult for us to get the Ohio Department of Education to pull the trigger on this last part," Krugh said. "It's a significant chunk of money."
The grant money was awarded to pay for expenses not covered by insurance, such as the $13,750 monthly lease of the "hangar" on the Owens Community College campus where students attended classes for two years while the high school was being rebuilt.
The majority of the money will go toward $750,000 in legal fees, Carpenter said, that are associated with building the new school and settling with the insurance company.
Carpenter said the district was originally awarded a $2.5 million grant. The controlling board of the department approved the money out of its School District Solvency Assistance fund.
Lake spent $2.1 million.
"We spent what we needed," Carpenter said.
The problem with getting the money from the state, he believes, is that a different set of people is working than the ones who initially approved the grant and started sending checks in 2010 after the June tornado.
To get through the next month financially, the board authorized Carpenter to take out a $500,000 loan at a special meeting last week. The district is also short on cash because voters did not approve new operating money in 2011, which would have been collected this year. Voters did pass a 6.75-mill, three-year operating levy in August. That money will be collected in 2013.
Carpenter said the loan is through the State Bank and Trust Co. in Walbridge.
The new high school, which opened in August, was built without any tax dollars. The $25.5 million facility was constructed with $20.4 million in insurance, $4.8 million from the Ohio School Facilities Commission and $500,000 from Kohl's Cares.
Also at the meeting, the board:
• Approved the retirement of teacher Robin Shultz who has 36 years of service.
• Set the 2013 organizational meeting for Jan. 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the middle school media center. The regular monthly board meeting will follow at 7 p.m.
• Accepted donations of a Christmas tree valued at $100 from Rich and Kim Ozuk and books valued at $25 from Connie Pindoley.
• Heard Lake Elementary students and staff collected over 7,000 items for the annual holiday drive.
• Recognized fifth-grader Kim Zoltani who traveled to New York last month to aid victims of Superstorm Sandy. She was featured in last week's Sentinel-Tribune.
• Went into an executive session to discuss the appointment of a public employee or official and discipline, to confer with an attorney over imminent court action, and to discuss matters required to be kept confidential by law. No action was expected.