|Perrysburg schools spend to save|
|Written by ALEX ASPACHER, Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Monday, 30 September 2013 08:21|
PERRYSBURG - A $4 million project to improve efficiency in school district buildings is expected to pay for itself and more over the course of a 15-year loan.
The school board approved the plan Thursday, a move made possible by a state bill that allows districts to enter into debt to sponsor improvements that will pay off in the long run.
Perrysburg will net about $452,000 in general fund savings from the improvements over 15 years, according to Matt Feasel, district treasurer.
Superintendent Tom Hosler said Perrysburg's older buildings aren't the most energy efficient, so district staff looked into other area school systems that navigated the renovation program successfully. After they prepared their own changes, the state examined the finances and verified it was a solid financial move.
"If they're not happy with the return, they won't approve it," Hosler said.
Most of the upgrades will be made with an eye on energy, upgrading aspects like boilers, lights, kitchen appliances, bathrooms and sinks.
"It gives us that opportunity to invest back in our buildings without going to the voters," Hosler said. "It pays for itself, so from our vantage point it's a win-win."
The district entered into a contract with ABM Building Solutions of Farmington Hills, Mich. Work will be performed at night and during weekends over the next six to nine months so as not to disrupt students.
In other business last week, the school board approved separate three-year agreements with Ohio Association of Public School Employees staff and also non-union, exempt employees.
Both contracts include a 1.25-percent pay increase in the first year, with an additional 1 percent each of the next two years. Both groups encountered a pay freeze for the last two years before these contracts, which run through June 30, 2016.
OAPSE employees include assistants, bus drivers, custodians and kitchen staff, while the non-union group includes support administration, technology staff and other assistants.
Meanwhile, teachers within the district are working without a new contract as negotiations continue. Hosler said there hasn't been heavy contention between teachers and the district, but a mediation session is scheduled Oct. 8
"We've been making progress, but we've reached a couple spots where bringing in a third party might be helpful in keeping the conversation going," Hosler said.
Also approved last week were renovations to the Commodore Building, now home to the district and school board offices as well as community activities and staff training.
The $220,000 project will include shuffling of some office space, including relocating the treasurer's office to the second floor.
General improvements have been made to the building over several years to modernize the facility with some of the $250,000 received each year from a tax abatement agreement with Levis Commons, Feasel said.
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