BG task forces present findings on schools to the community


The Bowling Green community needs to move forward with improving its facilities.
That was the message shared with the board of education and community members at a forum held Tuesday in
the Performing Arts Center. The school district’s financial and facilities task forces presented their
findings to the board after working on the issue for seven months.
The question is what to do about the district’s aging elementaries and how to finance a solution.
“We need to move forward and take care of our schools,” said Ben Otley, one of six presenters at the
Otley, representing the financial task force, said he thinks the community wants to proceed.
“We need to bring the right plan to the ballot, financed the right way. If those things happen and we
have a grassroots campaign from those community members who participated in this process, we can get the
support of our community … and it will pass,” he said.
The financial task force reviewed who pays taxes in the district, how it is ranked for funding assistance
by the Ohio Schools Construction Commission, and the type of taxes available.
The option picked by the group includes a project not to exceed $40 million, and to fund it 50-50 with a
1.76-mill levy and a 0.25-percent traditional income tax over 30 years. The group also is encouraging
the board enter into the OSCC’s Expedited Local Partnership Program and wants excess revenue collected
through the income tax be used for maintenance of the new buildings and not operational costs.
The ballot recommendation is November of this year.
“We were asked to vote on what the best financing option was,” Otley said, “not on what the community
would support.”
“Nobody can say they didn’t have their opinion heard,” said Tracy Hovest, also representing the financial
task force. “Nobody got everything that they wanted. But I think we can take a little bit of this and
say, ‘I own this.’”
Board member Bill Clifford pointed out the decisions were not unanimous. He asked how the board can come
to a consensus.
“I don’t know how you get a better consensus from a group,” Otley said.
Board member Jill Carr asked whether the group considered funding for the high school.
Otley said that if the district becomes eligible for state assistance, the 17 percent now offered can be
used to offset a high school project.
Tim Parish, a member of the facilities task force, started with pointing out a sign in the high school
that states “I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”
That was the motto of his group, he said.
He and Joanne Navin went through the steps of the task force, including touring the schools and reviewing
the options and their costs. They also toured two districts with new and renovated buildings.
Frances Brent, also a member of the facilities task force, described her impression when touring
Northwood’s new PK-12 building and North Baltimore’s renovated Powell Elementary.
She said she remembers the “pride and happiness of the tour leaders” and how each loved their HVAC
systems that allowed the same temperature in every room.
Different schools define the need for more space differently.
“There are many ways of solving a problem,” Brent said. “There is no clear-cut answer.”
The facilities task force settled on four options.
The group was not asked to rank them in order based on construction costs or cost of upkeep, said member
Wayne Colvin.
“It was just a vote of what do you think people are going to support,” he said.
Those options include:
1. A new consolidated elementary for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade on the Poe Road campus with an
estimated cost for 2019 $39.58 million.
2. Renovate all three elementaries with an estimated cost for 2019 will be $32.26 million.
3. Build a new Kenwood and a new Conneaut on the current sites, and renovate and add on to Crim at an
estimate of $37.684 million.
4. Build one new pre-kindergarten through fifth grade grade school on Poe Road and renovate and add on to
Crim for grades pre-kindergarten through fifth grade at an estimated cost of $34.23 million.
After six comparisons were done for those options, a new Kenwood and Conneaut and renovate Crim won the
most support.
The costs include architecture and furnishings as well as “swing costs” associated with housing students
while construction is ongoing.
If Kenwood and Conneaut are replaced with new schools, those sites have room for new construction and
would eliminate the need for swing space, Parish said.
Colvin said while touring the elementary he was shocked to see classes on a stage while gym classes were
going on, and a teacher meeting with a student in a closet with her desk right next to a sink.
“Some people say renovate,” he said, but that requires stripping to the bare bones and starting over, and
the construction costs will be more affordable to build new.
The renovations to Crim do not include space for central administration offices; however, preschool would
be moved back to the school.
After the forum, Bowling Green Councilman Bruce Jeffers said that it is important to move the community
“Good schools are essential to any development we hope to do,” Jeffers said.
He praised the details shared by both task forces.
“It’s especially gratifying to know that these two committees went through a variety of options.”
Carr, whose children attended Conneaut Elementary from the late 1980s into the 1990s, said that the
school needs work.
“It needed work then. You can’t fix what’s happening now. It needs to come down, we need a new school,”
she said, stopping short of sharing her preference.
Both groups “did exactly what we asked them to,” Carr said. “They came up with recommendations full of
fact. Every member of this community had an opportunity to participate and now we have good, meaty
recommendations to move forward with a decision.”
Board President Ginny Stewart said she didn’t hear anything new from a numbers standpoint but did
appreciate the points of view she said the board needs to pay attention to.
“These are people who gave up seven months of their life and became educated and knowledgeable.”
Otley suggested the board use the groups to promote a ballot measure, since members are the most informed
people on the issues.
“Use us and we’ll get the correct information out there,” he said.
Stewart agreed.
That knowledge is invaluable and needs to be used during any campaign, she said.
“They’re going to be the ambassadors for this campaign. They’ve got the knowledge and they can spread it
throughout the community, Stewart said.
The presentation can be viewed on Facebook at bgfinancialtf

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