Eastwood building plans hit possible glitch

PEMBERVILLE – A glitch has developed in Eastwood’s plan to not ask for taxpayer dollars to fund a new
The repeal of the November ballot issue to fund the school was pulled from Tuesday’s board of education
agenda after the Ohio School Facilities Commission wavered on its previous decision.
During a telephone call Tuesday morning, Superintendent Brent Welker was informed that there were
concerns expressed from the Attorney General’s Office about using Certificates of Participation Bonds
(COPs) to fund 100 percent of the district’s $11 million local share of the project.
"This was a surprise to us since we received a green light last Tuesday when we met with the
commission in Columbus," Welker wrote in a community email Tuesday afternoon.
"Until we get more direction from OSFC, the AG’s Office and our attorney, there is simply no choice
but to remove the item and wait," Welker wrote.
About a dozen members of the Committee to Save Our Elementaries were at Tuesday’s meeting, but did not
The group has expressed preference for refurbishing the elementaries in Pemberville and Luckey rather
than building new.
The only question raised was whether the board would repeal the ballot issue at a regular meeting or at a
special meeting.
Welker indicated either was possible.
Welker stressed at the meeting that community members will be given a chance to address the issue.
"To learn this morning that there was an issue was nothing short of infuriating. That said, there is
not a lot we can do about it now but take a step back and see where this takes things," Welker said
in his email.
The plan was to use $7 million from OSFC to fund the $20 million new school, and use tax abatement money
from Home Depot and Troy Energy to pay for $11 million, leaving $2 million to come from the general
The district planned to borrow the $11 million in Certificate of Participation Bonds at an interest rate
of 2.6 percent to 2.7 percent, which will require an annual payment of $1.275 million for principle and
interest over 10 years. The payment would come from the tax abatement funds.
The plan for using those funds was to save taxpayers money.
To build a new elementary, an estimated 2.1-mill bond issue would need to be passed this year; that is
the issue the school board wants to repeal.
But, the district would stop collecting funds from the current 1.45-mill bond issue and reduce
collections of the current permanent improvement levy from 1.1 mills to 0.5 mills starting in 2015. That
action would actually slightly reduce the collections of current levy monies.