As we approach the end of the 2018-2019 school year, I’m pleased to say that it has been a very successful year in many and varying respects. Whether we’re talking about successes in the classroom in grades PreK-12, our students’ unparalleled achievements in athletics or in student clubs/organizations, 2018-2019 has been a banner year for the Shelby City Schools. And from our very youngest students in Little Whippets Preschool all the way through high school with college and career exploration opportunities, please be assured that our focus will always remain on how we can improve academic achievement throughout the district. Of course, I would be remiss if I did not thank each of you for the support you provide to our students every single day; it is incredibly helpful and we could not have the success that we are enjoying without your assistance…thank you!
I mentioned Little Whippets Preschool, which we launched two years ago, in the above paragraph. Little Whippets, which has been designated a 5 star program, continues to provide an extraordinary educational setting for children who are between the ages of 3 and 5. It is no surprise that the children in this program are having a fantastic year and they are making tremendous academic progress. With that being said, registration for preschool is filling up quickly; if you are interested in enrolling your child in Little Whippets Preschool, please contact Amanda Zucker or Fran Schroeder at 419-342-3520.
We can all agree that there are many challenges that our students encounter throughout the course of a school year, one of which is mandated State testing. Of course, I am very confident that Shelby students will do well on these tests, but our staff is taking nothing for granted as they have worked diligently this school year to make sure that all of our students have the opportunity to achieve a year’s worth of growth in all academic areas. State testing began on April 8 and will continue in various grades and subjects until the second week of May. As a parent, if you have questions or concerns about these tests, please contact the Board office at your convenience.
As many of you are aware, the Shelby City School District may have a unique opportunity in the very near future with regard to facility options and the following information may help you better understand the broader scope of this opportunity.
In Ohio, there have traditionally been two primary ways to finance a school construction project via bond issues. One is to pass a bond issue and the entire burden, or cost, becomes the responsibility of the citizens who live within that school district. However, since 1997, with the creation of the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC), the other option is to pass a bond issue, enter into a partnership with the OFCC, and the community then shares the cost with the State of Ohio.
Other than paying cash, bond issues are the most stable and secure method of financing a building project, hence, the OFCC’s preferred method of going into a partnership since they are paying for part of the project. However, after the Shelby bond issue was defeated in November, the District proposed to the OFCC, that even though the bond issue had been defeated, the District believed that it could finance the District share of the cost of the project without placing an additional tax burden on the residents of Shelby. Keep in mind, this past fall the Board of Education even passed a resolution at the October, 2018 board meeting that stated that the District was prepared to use the revenue generated by Rover Pipeline to reduce or eliminate the payment on the Bonds.
As it turns out, the OFCC understood what the District had proposed at the October, 2018 Board meeting. Subsequently, they have assessed Shelby’s ability to finance the project without asking the voters for any additional new tax money and they are agreeable to the financial proposal. It is important to understand that this solution was not available prior to November, 2018 due to the fact that Rover Pipeline revenue was not confirmed by the proper taxation authorities until January, 2019. Subsequently, the OFCC has put Shelby on the short list to receive State funding when it becomes available to the OFCC.
Essentially, the State will pay for 50% of the project and the Shelby City School District will pay the other 50%. The District still intends to use the monies earmarked on previous levy opportunities to help pay part of the District portion of construction but the majority of that cost will be coming from Rover Pipeline revenue. A breakdown of those monies, along with Rover Pipeline money is:
~ $2 million dollars from the District’s general fund
~ $1.6 million dollars in LFI (locally funded initiatives) from the SHS construction project
~ $3 million dollars of bonds borrowed against a continuous PI (permanent improvement) levy
~ $10.2 million dollars (Rover money) generated by the District issuing COPS (certificates of participation)
If the District proceeds with this opportunity, it is true that the Board of Education does not need voter approval, but at the same time, it is also true that the voters will not be assessed any new or additional taxes for this construction project. Also, the construction plan for this project would be the same as the one proposed when the bond issue was on the ballot in November, 2018. That is, the District would build a PreK-8 facility, keep the large square footage areas of the current middle school and not move Skiles Field from its present location. Please also keep in mind, the cost for new construction is lower than it would be to renovate our current buildings.
Please know, the Board of Education is working diligently to gather and fully process the information that the OFCC is presenting to the District in order to make a well-informed decision. Thank you, as well, for taking the time to learn more about this unique opportunity for the Shelby City Schools and the community.
As we all know, Shelby has always been a community that comes out in full force to support its students and I look forward to seeing many of you at the various functions that dot our school calendar during this last month of the school year. Speaking of which, the Shelby City School District would like to extend an invitation to those in the community who would like to enjoy a free breakfast and some great music. On Wednesday, May 15 at 9:00 a.m., a biscuit and gravy breakfast will be served in the high school cafeteria followed by a performance by our acclaimed high school jazz band. And finally, I would like to reiterate that the staff and students of the Shelby City Schools are committed to continuing excellence in the classroom and would like to thank the entire community of Shelby for their support in this endeavor.
Superintendent, Shelby City Schools