CAMDEN — The Preble Shawnee Board of Education discussed funding possibilities for potential new school buildings, as well as improvements to existing facilities, during its monthly meeting Thursday, July 11.
The district is considering placing a 3.99-mill levy on next year’s ballot. The levy would tax property owners in the district at a rate of approximately $4 per $1,000 of assessed value.
A portion of those funds would likely go toward construction of a new K-5 school building, as well as making substantial improvements to the district’s Junior and Senior High School facilities.
Bradley Ruwe, of Cincinnati-based law firm Dinsmore & Shohl, was on hand during the meeting to discuss potential financing options for the project, including pursuing funding under House Bill 264, a measure passed in 1985 which — according to the Development Services Agency page on Ohio.Gov — “enables school districts, in this one limited instance, to borrow funds without having to pass a ballot issue for the authority to borrow.”
The funds must pay for improvements, including new doors, windows, and upgraded HVAC systems, that would improve energy efficiency, and the amount saved in energy costs over the life of the improvements — usually 10-15 years, according to Ruwe — must equal or exceed the amount borrowed.
The process, Ruwe said, would involve hiring a contractor to prepare an Energy Conservation Report; having the board vote to approve the contractor’s findings and recommendations; then applying to the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) for exemption under the HB 264 statute. The OFCC would then approve or deny the request, as well as provide a number representing the maximum amount the school district can borrow.
Once receiving approval, the board would apply to outside financial institutions to secure funding for the approved repairs, and would also be responsible for providing yearly updates to the OFCC.
Superintendent Matt Bishop told board members during June’s meeting that a master plan for construction and improvements to the district’s buildings would need to be submitted by sometime in October in order to get the levy on the ballot in March. Now the plan, according to Bishop, involves hopefully being able to review any documents from the OFCC and approve them during their regular September meeting.
“That’s when we’ll officially say ‘This is our plan,’” Bishop said.
In other business, students Alivia Reek and Maggie Schmidt were presented certificates of achievement by the board for their performance at the Ohio High School Athletic Assocation (OHSAA)’s state track meet May 24.
Bishop also presented bullying statistics from the second semester of the 2018-19 school year. Bishop said there were two reported incidences of bullying at Camden Primary School, three at West Elkton Intermediate School and three at Preble Shawnee, though only one of those eight incidences was confirmed.
A confirmed incidence of bullying, Bishop said, must involve persistent harassment, though other types of inappropriate behavior may still be dealt with and require discipline.