Otsego sets school payment plan PDF Print E-mail
Written by By MARIE THOMAS Sentinel Education Editor   
Tuesday, 15 December 2009 11:02
TONTOGANY - A multi-million-dollar loan Otsego is using to build its new elementary school will be repaid from a combination of sources, including savings from a reduction in personnel.
The Board of Education on Monday approved Superintendent Jim Garber's proposed repayment plan for the $4 million in Qualified School Construction Bonds the district received for the project.
Capital One will handle the district's bond debt service, with interest set at nearly 2 percent for the 15-year loan.
Garber is suggesting the first year's payment of $308,126, due September 2010, come from about $310,000 in Ohio School Facilities Commission funds that had been earmarked for an addition to Grand Rapids Elementary. According to Garber, that project was put on hold in 2007 when bids came in much higher than expected.
The second payment, of the same amount, will come from proceeds from the district's permanent improvement fund, which currently has a balance of $484,105.
The superintendent recommended savings from personnel reductions would cover repayments for years three through 15, or through September 2024 when the loan would be paid off.
Garber is recommending the district eliminate one building principal's position, saving $110,825 in salary and benefits; eliminate the equivalent of 1.5 teachers, hopefully through attrition, saving $85,800 in salaries and benefits; reduce support staff for savings of $39,000; and cut $75,000 from its contract with the Wood County Educational Service Center
That plan would free up $310,625 annually, with those funds going toward the loan repayment.
Garber explained the savings in staff cuts wouldn't be effective until at least 2012, when the district moves preK-5 students into the new building.
He is proposing the consolidated elementary, with an estimated 750 students, will have a principal and assistant principal; principals will remain at the junior high and high schools, although those assignments also could change in the future.
A planning meeting for construction and project managers, along with architects, is set for Friday at 9:30 a.m. in the junior high library.
Garber also pointed out that by closing Weston Elementary, the district to date has saved $481,175 in salaries. An additional savings of $107,000 from eliminating a contract for custodial work, but an increase in busing costs of $24,325, brings total savings to $588,175.
Also at the meeting, board President James Harter recognized the contributions of board members Daren Garmenn, who did not win re-election; and Lisa Hatfield and Kurt Dickey, who chose not to run for re-election in November.
"I can't say enough about how much you've done to better this place for kids," Harter told them.
Garmenn served on the board for eight years, Dickey for 12, and Hatfield for 11.

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