ROSSFORD - After months of study and discussion led by 40 community members and hired consultants, residents of the school district will have a chance to weigh in on which of five building options they like.
An information packet has been mailed to district residents, who have until May 29 to return a postcard stating their preferences.
Those five options were explained Tuesday night, including possible cost to taxpayers.
Each option had an estimated building cost, operational costs and the cost of staffing those buildings, not including teachers, developed by the architects, Collaborative-TMP.
Those options are:
1. Renovating all the existing buildings, including adding new space to link the junior high and high school and make room for sixth graders at the downtown site. The project would cost $70.4 million to build, $255,351 to maintain, $801,695 in utilities, and $4.2 million in non-teaching staff costs. The project would take longer to complete because the work would be done on schools in operation, said John Appt, who chairs the master plan steering committee.
2. Constructing a new 300,000-square-foot pre-kindergarten through 12 campus on the site of Glenwood Elementary. The project would cost $71.9 million to build, $250,638 to maintain, $552,876 in utilities, and $2.9 million in non-teaching staff costs. This option does not include the cost of upgrading Lime City Road, which would be necessary. No students would be able to walk to school. Appt said many residents said they wanted to preserve neighborhood schools.
3. Constructing a new downtown grade 6 through 12 school with some preservation of building's facade and core with a new pre-kindergarten to second grade at Eagle Point and a new grade 3 through 5 building at Indian Hills. The cost of any construction at the Indian Hills site includes hiring an archeological team to survey for Native American remains and artifacts. The project would cost $76 million to build, $250,800 to maintain, $556,176 in utilities, and $3.1 million in non-teaching staff costs. This would require finding space for students while construction is ongoing
4. Constructing grade 6 through 12 same as third option with a new pre-kindergarten through 5 building at the Indian Hills site. The project would cost $75.2 million to build, $250,638 to maintain, $552,876 in utilities, and $3 million in non-teaching staff costs. The question for this option is what happens to existing sites.
5. Renovating downtown site same as first option with a pre-kindergarten and kindergarten building at Eagle Point and grades 1 through 5 at Indian Hills. The project would cost $77 million to build, $255,483 to maintain, $754,246 in utilities, and $3.15 million in non-teaching staff costs.
Committee member Sharon Belkofer said she "personally read every single survey" that was sent out to residents in January. She also attended six of eight community sessions hosted by Ron Victor, a consultant working with the district.
"There's been a great deal of effort to use all that information," Belkofer said. People said they wanted schools that were "cost effective and operationally efficient."
She had a request for residents: "Please, please, please, read the information that accompanies these options."
Appt said the committee was inclined to go for financing of the projects all at once.
The problem is that the district cannot borrow the $75 million that would be required.
The tax bite would be deep, Appt said. He estimated his own school taxes would double.
The other option would be to split the cost between a 37-year property tax and a tax on earned income over 25 years. Splitting the cost evenly would result in a 5.36-mill levy and 0.75-percent income tax. That would cost a person earning $50,000 a year who owns a house assessed at $100,000 an estimated $539 a year. Financing $50 million of the cost with a 7.15-mill property tax and a 0.5-percent earned income tax would cost the same resident $469 a year.
Senior citizens living on Social Security who rent would pay no additional taxes. Those on Social Security who own a $100,000 home would pay $123 a year more with a 0.75-percent income tax and $164 more annually with a 0.5-percent income tax.
Committee member Robert Densic said his readings of the community surveys was that residents would prefer to phase in the financing of the project.
Roger Gluckin, a member of the steering committee, questioned why utility costs would be higher for all the plans than the $450,000 the district now spends to maintain five buildings.
John Castellana, of Collaborative-TMP, said all the renovations include air conditioning and more space.
Densic said a performance audit being done with the results reported in August will show additional savings which may assist the district in paying for some of the cost with existing revenue sources and may reduce the cost of some of the options.