Bowling Green City Schools has once again applied to enter into a state program to help the district pay for new facilities.
At its Tuesday meeting, the school board unanimously agreed to apply for the state’s Expedited Local Partnership Program with the intent to put a bond issue request on the November ballot for a new high school.
There was no discussion prior to the vote.
The board first entered the ELPP in May 2019 and agreed to reapply for an application in January 2022, when the district’s facilities committee continued to look at the best way to move forward to address the aging school buildings.
There is no cost to enter the program.
In November, a request for a combined bond issue/income tax to fund a new high school and renovations to the existing building was defeated.
Funding for the $70 million project was to be split 70% property tax and 30% income tax.
That request will reappear on the Nov. 7 ballot, according to the ELPP application, although the board has not taken official action.
A district facilities advisory committee recommended a new high school at a community forum in March. Ninety-five percent of the committee agreed that building a new high school was the way to go.
According to the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission website, the commission will perform an assessment of the district’s facilities and enter into an agreement with the district on a facility master plan that covers the entire needs of the district.
The district will choose a “distinct portion” of its Master Plan to fund through local efforts. When the district’s turn later arises in the Classroom Facilities Assistance Program, the money spent by the district on the distinct portion is credited against the local share of the entire Master Plan projects.
When the application was approved in 2019, the elementary school project would have qualified as the first portion of the overall master plan. At that time, based on the district’s current ranking of 506th, it was eligible for 17% state funding.
The district failed in three attempts to get a bond issue approved for that school.
At the time of the board workshop held earlier this month, the district currently ranked 505 out of 610 school districts, which amounts to between 13% and 18% in state funding for the project.
The ELPP money only comes to the district as a reimbursement after the project is complete and then only if any funds are still available.
The board on Tuesday also agreed to advertise for requests for qualifications to find an architect to design a potential high school and update the district’s master plan.
Also at the meeting, the board agreed to advertise for a request for qualifications to hire an architect and engineering services firm for the facilities master plan.
Submissions will be due Feb. 24.