Northwood to combine property and income tax for new school
Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD Sentinel Education Editor
Thursday, 11 July 2013 09:36
NORTHWOOD - The Northwood Board of Education has decided to try a combined earned income tax and property millage request to fund a new school.
At Wednesday's meeting, the board voted 4-0 to ask the Wood County Auditor's Office to determine the amount of the income tax and property tax needed for the project.
Superintendent Greg Clark said administrators have estimated the earned income tax needed would be 0.25 percent, which would collect $225,876 each year for a continuing time; and the property tax would be 4.9 mills to generate $11.7 million over its 37-year term.
But Clark cautioned those figures might change since his staff based estimates before passage of the new state budget bill that eliminates rollbacks on levies passed in November.
No site has yet been selected for the new PK-12 building, but Clark hopes to have that in place before the Nov. 5 election.
Even after a site is chosen, he said the district may have a caveat that would allow the district to back out if a better site is found.
The estimated cost of the new school is $33.02 million, with the state's Ohio School Facilities Commission paying for $11.55 million, or 35 percent, and Northwood paying the $21.46 million balance.
The district also will use income from payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements from FedEx and Johnson Controls, which combined comes to $394,000 annually, to cover the balance, Clark said.
The district has smaller such agreements with other district businesses as well, he added.
"The committee felt it was most fair to do a combination of a property tax and income tax," Clark said. "It makes it as fair as possible to the community and reduces the burden on our seniors."
The earned income tax will collect from wage earners, not from senior citizens on pensions, Clark explained.
The district's plan calls for Olney Elementary, Lark Elementary and the 1939 building now known as Northwood Elementary School to be torn down. Northwood High School would be partially torn down with the common spaces including the gymnasium and auditorium maintained for continued community and student use.
The sports complex at the current high school site also will be kept.
The site for the new school is still to be determined. OSFC has approved land owned by the district at the current Lark site and property on Bradner Road.
The state commission is against building the new school on the current Lemoyne Road campus. The state considers the site "industrial" and cites its proximity to Interstate 280 to the west, an underground petroleum pipeline to the east and the railroad tracks to the south.
The board will finalize the bond and income tax amounts at a July 30 meeting, set for 4 p.m. in the superintendent's office.
Also at the meeting, the board restored the suspended contract with Michele Geerken, who was one of two teachers let go two years ago in a reduction in force due to district finances. Geerken will be paid at the same level she received when she left. The second RIF teacher also was rehired, last year.