WILLARD - School board members learned Monday about different options to finance the construction of new school buildings which could open for the 2011-2012 school year.
Marvin Founds, vice president of public finance at Wachovia Securities, discussed options such as a bond issues, permanent improvement levies and income tax-backed bonds. Columbus-based Wachovia would underwrite the bonds and sell them to investors.
The funding would cover the local share of the project's cost. The state will foot 58 percent of the bill, with the school district paying 41 percent. School officials have said the total cost will be more than $52 million.
The plan is to build three new buildings a new elementary school, housing pre-k through second grade; a new middle-level school, housing third through sixth-grade and a new middle/high school housing seventh through 12th-graders. The plan also calls for selling, demolishing or finding another purpose for Central, Greenfield, New Haven and Richmond elementary schools, as well as Willard Middle School and Willard High School.
The origin of the master plan dates back to 2006, when district officials were notified they were eligible for funding for renovation and/or expansion of buildings.
The board ultimately accepted the offer to participate in the Ohio School Facilities Commission's Classrooms Facilities Program. The commission administers the state's comprehensive kindergarten through 12th grade public school construction program.
Through school districts' partnerships with the commission, deteriorating, overcrowded and inefficient school facilities are renovated or entirely rebuilt to 21st century standards. The emphasis is on classrooms and labs, not spaces for extra-curricular activities. The commission assesses, among other things, the age and condition of a building and it's compliance with codes.
The commission pays for a portion of a building's project, based on a district's equity rank. The number is determined by dividing the district's total property valuation by the number of students attending the district.
The board has not yet voted on what type of levy to place on the ballot.
In other news, Central Elementary Principal Sandra Sutherland told board members the school received 2,784 new books with a value of $6,960. The books came from a "First Book" grant from Huron County. First Book is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide disadvantaged children with new books, using generous donations from children's book publishers, service donors and volunteers. .
Sutherland said Central students were overjoyed with the books.
"They just squealed," she said. "These are books they actually get to take home."
Sutherland said each student will get six brand-new books for school use and to use at home.
In other business:
The board voted unanimously to accept Willard Middle School Assistant Principal Greg Nossaman's resignation. He has been hired as dean of students with the Olentangy school district in Lewis Center. Nossaman will finish out the year and will be succeeded by Scott Stackhouse.
The board unanimously approved David Hirschy to replace Nossaman as head boys basketball coach. (A story about Hirschy appears today on page A-6.)
The board unanimously voted to sell a 65-passenger school bus at a public auction. Transportation Director Mike Lillio said the district can provide the same level of service without that bus's route in the New Haven area.
The board voted unanimously to approve a refund of a $150 donation to the Athletic Boosters from girls tennis. The boosters had originally donated the money to cover the cost of one of the players for her summer trip. She will not be able to attend.