The decision to be made about Bowling Green City Schools facilities may come down to best educational
model or the best model for this school district.
The board of education met Saturday to review the findings on the facilities and financial task forces,
and to continue its discussion on what to do with the levies up for renewal next year.
The school board is still undecided about which facilities configuration to go with.
The facilities task force recommendation was to build a new Kenwood and a new Conneaut on the current
sites and renovate and add on to Crim at an estimated cost of $37.7 million.
Board member Paul Walker wanted to know if the facilities task force looked into the operational savings
from having one elementary as opposed to three.
“It’s a slam dunk difference,” when comparing one building to multiple buildings with multiple kitchens,
roofs and HVAC systems, said David Conley, with Rockmill Financial Consulting, who led the meeting.
“A multiple building solution is the most expensive solution for the community,” he said. “It doesn’t
mean it’s the wrong solution, it just means the community has to go into this knowing … it’s more
expensive but it’s still neighborhood schools.”
While one school may be the best choice from a financial perspective, people who live in the district
like having neighborhood schools, Conley said.
“As long as the community understands that a multiple-building solution means more operating levies in
the future, then that’s fine,” he said.
The way to finance a project has been decided.
“I feel pretty good that the finance committee nailed the recommendation,” Conley said.
The recommendation is for a project not to exceed $40 million and be funded 50-50 with an estimated
1.76-mill levy and a 0.25-percent traditional income tax over 30 years.
To narrow down the facilities choice, Conley suggested a survey that would ask voters to choose between a
single building model or a neighborhood school model.
He said that the board does not know for sure why the previous levies failed twice in 2017 and 2018. Was
it the $72 million cost, was it the one-elementary idea, or was it because it was all funded by a
Superintendent Francis Scruci said that by going with the combined income tax and property tax as
recommended by the financial task force, one of the barriers in the previous elections has been
“This is a more palatable way of funding. It meets more people’s approval,” he said.
The mistake made was putting the exact same issue on the ballot because the board didn’t determine why it
failed the first time, Scruci said.
“I just wonder how many people in the community really know what you’re trying to solve,” Conley said in
support of a survey.
“We want input, we want feedback,” said board member Bill Clifford.
“I think at some point you’ve just got to cut bait. We have the information. I’d like to move forward,”
A survey delays a decision and duplicates a process already done, Clifford said.
“At what point do you keep regurgitating the information? We have an abundance of information,” he said.
Scruci also cautioned that a survey typically gets an 18 percent return rate.
“If you’re willing to bet on 18 percent, you’re probably braver than most people,” he said. “That would
just be throwing dollars out the window, in my opinion. You’re not going to make everybody happy.
“And if you look at it from what’s economically beneficial … if you’re looking at equity in education,
you know what you have to do.”
The ballot language also is still up in the air. The board could decide to put two issues on the ballot.
Both would be for a $40 million project, but one would be in support of one consolidated school and
another one would be for a new Kenwood, a new Conneaut and renovated Crim.
“You give them the choice to pick between the two,” Conley said. “That is completely removing any need
for the board making a decision and putting it all on the community to decide.”
The board would have to hope both don’t pass, he said.
Another ballot option would be to go with one very broad issue that simply says the money would be used
for facilities and doesn’t outline which project.
“Why don’t we skip that option,” said Clifford, to chuckles from the audience.
The fourth option is to just make a decision and put it to a vote, Conley said.
Board member Jill Carr agreed with Clifford regarding a survey.
“We’re ready to move forward,” she said.
Board President Ginny Stewart concurred but is concerned that not everyone is paying attention.
“To stall this process does not help us at all,” Stewart said.
The task forces have spoken, and they want this done by November, she said.
“I personally don’t need any more information,” Stewart said.
Walker supports the facilities task force message to build a new Kenwood and new Conneaut and renovate
“It might not be my choice on facilities, but I would follow what they recommended,” he said. “That is
what they’re recommending to us.
“We need to take into consideration what the community is asking for.”
Carr said since the task forces started, she has heard from more people in favor of a consolidated
school. than she heard during both previous ballot issues.
“That is something we’re going to have to grapple with,” she said.
But Norm Geer pointed out the second levy attempt in May 2018 had more voters from the Conneaut district
vote against one school.
“One of the take-aways was people in town like their community schools,” he said.
The board has to decide by June 18 in order to start the process of putting a ballot on in November.