Otsego considers financing options PDF Print E-mail
Written by By MARIE THOMAS Sentinel Education Editor   
Monday, 29 June 2009 10:23
TONTOGANY - Members of the Otsego Board of Education have approved participation in the Ohio School Facilities Commission to complete phase two of its master plan.
At its meeting this morning, the board also continued its discussion of financing options for the elementary planned for the Tontogany campus. A decision needs to be made before the August deadline to place a tax issue on the November ballot.
District Treasurer Pam Harrington was authorized to complete paperwork to apply for federal stimulus money to use toward the estimated $3.9 million local share of the new elementary. The treasurer said she had heard at least 100 of Ohio's school districts have applied, but the federal fund may be as large as $200 million.
The board also has learned that the Ohio Association of School Business Officials provides financing for construction projects, at a better interest rate than if the district went out on the market. Harrington said OASBO representatives said the organization would have no problem financing Otsego's $3.9 million share of the construction project.
"I was very happy to hear that since they are just a reputable organization," she said. "It was just like a new door opened for us."
The board has been investigating various options for funding the proposed new elementary, which would be for prekindergarten through fifth grades.
In May, a representative from Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP attended a meeting to explain how a lease-purchase agreement would work. Such an agreement could be entered into without voter input, and it also would mean the district would not have to turn to taxpayers for project funding.
The board also could go with a traditional property tax to fund the project, with a ballot issue appearing before taxpayers in November. The district would have one year to pass the millage to fund phase two of the construction plan.
Additional information on interest rates for the various options is expected at the board's July 27 meeting.
Phase two must be completed before the state will release the $14.1 million credit Otsego has for work already completed on the new high school and renovations to the junior high and elementaries.
Nathan Wallace, a member of Tontogany Village Council, announced that a meeting of citizens who support a centralized campus will be held July 16 at 7 p.m. at the village hall. Wallace added that representatives from Elmwood School District will be on hand to talk about their experience going to a central campus.
Also during the meeting:
¥ Harrington announced that the district will end the fiscal year with an unencumbered cash balance of $612,000, which she called "pretty slim" when compared to the district's $13 million operating budget. She reiterated that the district would need new operating money to prevent a deficit budget.
¥ The board agreed to nominate member Lisa Hatfield for the Ohio School Boards Association Outstanding Board Member for the northwest region. Hatfield is serving as president of the region.
¥ Gave a first reading to a policy that would create a student associate position on the school board. The associate would be a junior or senior, selected from a committee appointed by the board, and would serve for one school year. The student would not having voting privileges.
Last Updated on Monday, 29 June 2009 12:37

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