PEMBERVILLE – Eastwood school board members are considering all options to finance a new elementary
school and other building improvements.
At Monday’s meeting, bond counsel Becky Princehorn, with Bricker & Eckler, described a series of
new options that involve selling bonds at zero percent interest. Bond holders, she explained, don’t
receive tax-exempt interest, but instead receive tax credits on the bonds.
These qualified school construction bonds (QSCB) may be available to Eastwood to not only help finance a
new K-5 school building but also for planned projects to improve energy efficiency.
However, there are strings attached: Ohio has $267 million available in federal stimulus money for school
construction projects, and the Ohio School Facilities Commission has been charged with doling out funds
based on applications.
Eastwood will meet the Wednesday deadline to apply for the funds.
"There’s no downside risk to apply," Princehorn told board members.
Also, if the district goes forward with projects using the QSCBs, it will have to pay federal prevailing
wages to contractors working on the projects. Princehorn added that a "buy American" provision
in the federal stimulus package would require Eastwood to purchase not only U.S. steel, but iron and
domestic goods as well. She said feedback from contractors has been the provision adds about 1 percent
to the project cost.
Superintendent Brent Welker explained that by mixing two bond types – zero percent and traditional – the
cost to taxpayers for the proposed K-5 building would drop.
The district pulled a 3.2-mill bond issue off the May ballot because of the declining economy. That issue
would have collected $10.4 million to help pay for the new elementary on the main campus – buildings in
Luckey, Pemberville and Scotch Ridge would close – as well as upgrades to the middle school and high
If the district can finance 20 percent of the project with the QSCBs, and 80 percent through traditional
bonds, Welker estimated the millage would drop to 2.9 mills.
The owner of property with a $100,000 assessed value would pay $89.82 a year at that millage rate,
according to Welker. That’s a drop from the $98.19 that would have been assessed with a 3.2-mill bond.
"For under $100 a year, that’s a pretty tough thing not to put on the ballot, potentially,"
said board member Roger Bostdorff.
Welker added that it was unlikely Eastwood would be awarded enough money to use the zero percent bonds
for the entire project.
While no decision has been made whether the district will be back on the ballot in November for another
attempt at funding a new elementary, the board did agree to apply for QSCBs for the potential building
project as well as potential energy-conservation projects.
Princehorn pointed out that acceptance by the state of Eastwood’s application does not require the
district to use the bonds.
Also at the meeting, the board:
Commended Jack Eisenhour, of Eisenhour Motor Sales, for furnishing a new track to the Eastwood FFA
program for the past 38 years. With the closure of new car sales at the dealership, however, that
sponsorship will not continue. Welker called the deal an "unbelievable benefit" to the school
Approved one-year teaching contracts with Rachal Hamilton, for family and consumer sciences at the middle
school, and Marnie Hartman, for third grade at Luckey; and a one-year contract with Lori Maas as high
school guidance counselor.
Extended Welker’s contract as superintendent to July 31, 2012. He will take a reduction in salary and
make a larger contribution to his insurance coverage. The superintendent will earn $93,000 for 2009-10,
down from the $96,434 he would have received under his current contract. He explained he was not
comfortable taking a salary increase in this economy.
Approved elementary and middle school student handbooks, but may add an addendum as cell phones are
allowed at the elementary, but not at the middle school. Board member Bob Kuhlman suggested the same
policy apply in both handbooks.