The Athens City School District Board of Education is working out the details of cost as deadlines loom for the bond issue the board is intending to place on the November ballot.
The board approved the facilities master plan in March, but the final details of how the plan and additional projects alongside the plan will be funded will be key discussion points during the next few months. Part of the costs will be covered by the money provided to the district through the Classroom Facilities Assistance Program of the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission.
The district is expecting the proceeds of the bond to be around $60 million. $52 million of that will be spent on the master plan and around $8 million will be spent on locally funded initiatives, or LFIs, according to a resolution to be proposed at the board’s June meeting.
Locally funded initiatives have been included in the discussion for a long time, especially when the board was considering which construction timeline would be the most cost effective.
Superintendent Thomas Gibbs said he believes the board is trying to keep the local share, or the amount the district will have to pay for these projects, around $60 million. This would mean the projects funded through locally funded initiatives would probably have to be limited to the tennis court at the high school and additions to a seating area at Athens High School.
Board member Kim Goldsberry said she feels the board has been going back and forth on locally funded initiatives because the board wants to keep the costs down for constituents.
“We need to have that conversation with one another about is it better to go ahead and include that now versus wait longer,” Goldsberry said. “We just need to have the conversation ... about locally funded initiatives and what we really, really need and what we really, really want.”
Board member Paul Grippa said the issue is getting five people to get behind one idea. He thinks the board has to get to the place where it is confident enough to develop a plan it can present as a united front.
Grippa is waiting on more information from Schorr Architects about the gym space in particular. The current gym can seat 1,200 people, Grippa said, and he wants a possible new gym to seat the same.
The board will discuss, and most likely pass, a resolution of necessity at its June board meeting. The resolution of necessity includes details about the levy and would be sent to the county auditor, Jill Thompson, so she can confirm the tax valuation and the estimated average annual property tax levy information.
The board will make final decisions and approve a resolution placing the bond issue on the ballot during its July meeting according to a previous Post report.