Bond issue for new BG high school will be on November ballot


Bowling Green will have a ballot issue in November for a new high school.

After an hour-long discussion during a special meeting Tuesday, the board of education unanimously voted to put a bond issue for the new school on the Nov. 7 ballot.

The new estimate for the cost of the building is $72.8 million, up from the $70 million asked for in 2022.

The increase is due to inflation, said Treasurer Cathy Schuller.

The cost to a district resident with a $100,000 valued home is estimated at $193.69 per year or $16.14 annually, she said.

That is equal to a 5.53 mills, Schuller said.

The board will pass the necessary resolutions at its June 27 meeting. The deadline to file with the Wood County Board of Elections is Aug. 1.

Superintendent Francis Scruci said representatives with DLR Group, the architecture firm that will be handling the district’s master plan regarding facilities, will be touring facilities Thursday.

He said there is a meeting with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission that afternoon.

“They won’t have anything concrete in numbers,” he cautioned.

Conversations at the meeting also included the need for additional operating money.

Schuller recommended a 0.5% income tax, but then the board debated which should come first: the operating money or the new high school.

“I think now’s the time to go for the high school entirely with real estate taxes,” said board member Norm Geer.

He said the community is expected to have a high school issue in November and that there will be a lot of disappointed people if that doesn’t happen.

“I feel like there’s a lot of support, a lot of expectations to do something with the high school,” board President Ryan Myers said.

There’s momentum, with the mayor voicing support in his state of the city address and a grassroots group volunteering to run the campaign, he said.

“We’ve told this community we’re coming back with a high school in November,” Scruci said.

“It’s hard for me to be positive after doing this for eight years,” said board member Jill Carr.

Board member Ginny Myers said as a voter, she’d rather be in better fiscal shape before asking for new building support.

Waiting until spring also would give the architects more time and allow new Superintendent Ted Haselman to get settled, she said.

Board member Tracy Hovest asked Haselman, who attended the meeting to take part in the levy discussion, which option made sense to him.

“Nobody ever wants to be on the ballot because it’s a challenge,” he said. “Whatever the board decides, I’ll maneuver my way through it.”

“If we don’t have operation money, we won’t be able to run our buildings when we have new buildings,” Hovest said.

Myers pointed out the district should get around $13 million from the state once it is at the front of the OFCC line in 10 years.

“Neither one of these issues is going away. The big picture is, what is it going to cost me,” Myers said.

“The best option for operations I believe is an income tax,” Schuller said.

The last time the district asked for new operating money was in 2010, for 1.6 mills.

The average length between requests is 9.7 years, Schuller said.

“I think that’s proof of being good stewards of the money,” she said.

The easiest way to determine the proposed additional 0.5% income tax is to look at a W2 form and double the amount now being collected in income taxes for the school district, Schuller said.

The current 0.5% income tax collects $4.8 million yearly, she said.

She said the district will need new money in 2024 unless it diverts the pipeline funds now going to capital improvement fund.

That fund receives about $1.2 million per year and currently has a balance of $2 million in unencumbered funds, Schuller said.

If pipeline funds are directed into the general fund, that should push the need for new revenue out until 2025, she said.

Hovest said if diverting pipeline money holds off a levy for a year, she supported the school ballot this fall.

Stewart also agreed with the November plan.

“I want the community to know we’re thinking this through and being fiscally responsible,” she said.

“I feel comfortable moving forward with a new high school in November,” Myers said.

He said after the meeting the board was cautiously optimistic yet realistic knowing past bond issues for new facilities have failed.

“However, I don’t remember having this much support prior even to us putting something on (the ballot),” he said. “I’m very encouraged by that but I’m very cautious.”

Haselman, who said at April’s community forum he did not have experience getting a bond issue passed, stated Tuesday the board needs to share the need for the new school and what that facility will provide when educating kids.

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