New Building FAQs
Why is the bond issue on the ballot?
There has never been a better time to affordably replace and rebuild our outdated and aging buildings with newly constructed school buildings. There are four main reasons for the timing of this bond issue. They are:
- The Ohio school building construction fund will make Finneytown a state funding priority.
- The state has dramatically increased the portion of the project they will fund to 60 percent of the cost.
- Interest rates are at a historical low, projected at 4.5%.
- The expiration of local bond debt millage (5.5 mills) will happen within the next five years.
What are the conditions of the buildings?
The oldest building, Whitaker Elementary, was built in 1935 with additions added in 1953, 1956, and 1997. The Secondary Campus was built in the 1950’s. Brent Elementary was built in 1964.
Because of their age, the buildings have many maintenance issues with heating, cooling, and plumbing systems. Repairing and replacing these aging systems is costly and sometimes impossible, as parts no longer exist for some of the equipment.
Our buildings were constructed in a time when flat roofs on school buildings were the norm. Flat roofs are notorious for leaks and require constant attention by our maintenance staff. The location of Whitaker Elementary, is particular particularly prone to flooding during flashfloods, proving expensive in terms of lost time and materials.
Student safety is also a concern. The district has a total of 68 external doors at its three schools. New buildings have limited, controlled points of entry and the latest safety enhancements.
The buildings also do not support the current educational needs of our students. There are not enough electrical outlets to meet the demand for today’s technology. They are energy-inefficient.
Experts have determined our buildings have exceeded their life expectancy and must be replaced. For more on the history of the current buildings and the maintenance issues the district faces, visit the Superintendent’s blog.
Is State of Ohio contributing any money to the project?
The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission provides financial and technical assistance to public school districts so they can replace the antiquated, inefficient, uncomfortable, and unsafe public-school buildings. More than half of the district’s public schools have received or are in the process of constructing new school buildings as a result of this program.
The State of Ohio is contributing $27, 871,113 or 60% of the basic cost to build a new school in Finneytown. The state requires the school district to pass a bond issue to secure funds for the other 40% before they will hand over any money to Finneytown. The state’s money is given free and clear and does not need to be repaid. If we fund the cost of a new elementary building, the state will essentially pay for the cost of a new secondary building.
Why is Finneytown building two buildings instead of one?
There are two main reasons this decision was made.
- The secondary campus is the only lot owned by the school district where a K-12 building could potentially be housed. To house grades K-12, the building would have to be three stories. Springfield Township does not allow a three-story building in this area; therefore, the school district cannot secure a permit to build a three-story building.
- Neighbors of the current secondary campus property were opposed to this plan because the school would increase traffic and congestion on Fontainebleau. With a K-12 building, traffic on the surrounding streets would double. Hamilton County also denied the district’s inquiry to add another light at Cherry Blossom. The district has no options for making the streets safer or easing traffic flow.
The solution became building a K-6 school on the Brent property and a 7-12 school on the secondary property in order to address all concerns and stay within code.
Is renovation a possibility?
State facility experts have determined that the cost of renovation is not financially justified when the cost exceeds 66% of new construction. This is the case for all of Finneytown school buildings.
Without the state of Ohio’s assistance, the district could not afford new buildings, and would not be able to escape an endless cycle of renovating the oldest and most decrepit systems and features of its old buildings, every 10-15 years while falling farther and farther behind the curve and going deeper into debt.
What is the millage rate of the bond issue?
The total millage is 7.69. This includes 7.19 millage to build new facilities and .5 mandated by the State of Ohio for maintenance on the new buildings.
How much money does the bond issue raise?
How long will this bond be in place?
The maximum maturity of the bond issue is 37 years.
How much will this bond issue cost the average homeowner?
The cost for an average home with an assessed value of $100,000 the bond issue will cost $22.41 per month.
Can the money raised for the bond issue be used for anything else other than construction of a new building or maintenance of it?
No. State Law prohibits school districts from spending bond issue money on anything but construction and maintenance of property.
What happens if the bond issue doesn’t pass?
The students of Finneytown will continue to attend school in the current buildings. The district will have to make difficult decisions about how to pay for increasing repair costs to keep the buildings in operation. And we will have to continue to try each time there is an election. It just puts off the plan. The longer we wait, the more expensive it will be since costs keep rising.