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Superintendent's back-to-school message
Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year! Hopefully you had the opportunity and time to share some wonderful activities with family and friends during the past couple of months. Of course summer days seem to fly by so quickly, and now the first day of school, August 21st, is just around the corner. When we look back over the calendar year, it seems like every month of the year is busy, but August is particularly active for a community like Shelby, especially for our students as they prepare for the new school year. Whether it is the county fair, band, cheerleading or one of our fall sports, hundreds of Shelby students are engaged in activities that will benefit themselves, the school, and yes, the community as well.
When we talk about the relationship between the community and the school, please understand that it is very important to me that the association built between the two is strong and healthy. What's more, I believe that it is imperative that the Shelby City Schools encourage our students to give back to the community of Shelby -- that they pay it forward -- so that others may benefit, just as this community has done for generations.
As many of you are aware, the Shelby City School District will have a bond issue on the ballot on November 7th, and I would like to take this opportunity to share a few thoughts with you about this tremendously important issue. In the early 1950's the citizens of Shelby chose to build four new elementary buildings and a football stadium. These facilities have served all families of Shelby extremely well over the years but these schools and stadium are now showing their age and the school district is faced with a challenging decision.
When one considers the long term needs of our buildings the Shelby Board of Education (BOE) and the school district considered two options; one was to renovate Auburn, Dowds and the middle school and the other was to build one new PreK-8 building. After researching both options, the BOE and the district concluded that building a PreK-8 facility was both the most educationally sound and fiscally responsible means in which to solve our facility needs, hence the ballot issue on November 7th. The district believes that the taxpayers of Shelby should be given all the information that went into making this decision and to that end, I want to share that information with you so that you can make an informed decision regarding the future of the district's school buildings and football stadium.
To Renovate:
This past spring, the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) conducted a study and determined that the minimum cost to renovate Auburn Elementary would be $6.5 million dollars, Dowds Elementary would be $5.3 million and the middle school would be $22.4 million dollars, which totals $34.2 million dollars. It is also important to understand that the State helps fund renovation projects differently than new construction projects. In Shelby's situation, the OFCC would only fund $15.15 million dollars of the $34.2 million, which would be 44.3% of the renovation project. That means the taxpayers of Shelby would be responsible for over $19 million, which would be nearly 56% of the project. Please also keep in mind that if the renovation project went over the $34 million, the additional costs would completely be the school district's responsibility. Another thing to consider about a renovation project is that it would take multiple years to complete. Consequently, much of the renovation would have to take place while classes were in session; this would present a tremendous challenge to our students and teachers.
To Build New:
If the district were to build a new PreK-8 building, the total cost of the building would be $32,164,428; the OFCC would cover 50% of this cost or $16,082,214 and the taxpayers of Shelby would pay $16,082,164.
However, there are some additional costs on the PreK-8 project that are not funded by the State. These additional costs are known as Locally Funded Initiatives (LFI's) and they total $387,786, which is why the amount of the bond issue on the ballot will be $16,470,000.
In addition to the cost of the PreK-8 building described above, the district will construct a new stadium and re-purpose the remaining areas of the current middle school, bringing the total cost of the construction project to $39,182,214. However, the additional cost of the project will be offset by a contribution from the school district of approximately $6,630,000 that does not need to be funded by taxpayers.
In short, out of a $39 million project to build a new PreK-8 building and a stadium, the taxpayers would be responsible for just over $16 million, or 42% of the total cost. However, if the district were to renovate Auburn, Dowds and the middle school, and did nothing about the football stadium, the cost to the taxpayers would be a minimum of $19 million, which is approximately 56% of the project.
As I mentioned earlier, the football stadium is showing its age and it continues to deteriorate at a rate that makes it imperative that its structural integrity is addressed. As a matter of fact, when it was most recently inspected by an independent agency in May of 2017, it was estimated that the stadium has 4-8 years of remaining safe usage. By constructing the new PreK-8 building behind the current middle school, and retaining 50% of the current middle school for future use, it would allow the new football stadium to be constructed adjacent to the current middle school, which in turn, would allow Skiles Field to be replicated as much as possible with stands close to the field and spectators and the dog pound in the end zones, etc. Also, placing the stadium in this location allows the stadium to be “tied” into the remaining middle school which will capture huge cost savings. The school district will not have to run costly utilities, new locker rooms will not have to be built and space in the current middle school will be re-purposed for concession and restroom facilities.
Earlier in this article, I mentioned that the district wants to give taxpayers as much information as possible to make an informed decision regarding the future of our buildings; hopefully this article has helped clarify a few things for each of you. In summary with the passage of the bond issue in November, the district would be able to:
  • Construct a PreK-8 facility on existing school district property, allowing all of our students to receive an education on one campus.
  • Get all of our students on one campus which would allow a Student Resource Officer the opportunity to provide services to all of our students and staff members more effectively and efficiently.
  • Design a PreK-8 building that will keep the primary, intermediate, and middle school grades located in separate academic wings/areas.
  • Keep and utilize nearly 50% of the current middle school, allowing for continued use of the David A. Jones Little Theater, the Joe Yohn Gymnasium, as well as the current cafeteria and music rooms.
  • Construct the new facility without interrupting the educational process for any of our students.
  • Capture a large savings for the construction of a new football stadium by using some of the existing facilities located in the current middle school, such as utilities, bathrooms, concession stands and locker rooms.
  • Construct a $39 million-dollar project at a cost of just under $16.5 million to the community.
  • Millage rate for this project is 3.90 mills; the estimated cost for a home valued at $100,000 would be approximately $136.00 a year, which would be less than $12 per month.
I know that I have thrown a lot of information at you in this article. If you have questions, please contact me at your convenience. Shelby is a wonderful community in which to live, work and raise a family and I want each of you to know that the Shelby City School District is proud to be a partner in the success of this community. Thank you for everything you do on a daily basis to help make our school system excellent. Have a great school year and go Whippets!
Tim Tarvin
Superintendent, Shelby City Schools
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