School district officials will consider asking voters to approve a 10-year, 0.5-mill sinking fund, along with a $20 million to $25 million bond issue, to pay for repairs to infrastructure.
The bond and sinking fund millage proposals would appear on the Nov. 7 general election ballot.
The school board is expected to make a decision regarding approval of the bonding application at its May 23 meeting.
According to Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations Sam Barna, the current list of repairs and improvements has been estimated to cost approximately $30.4 million in total.
A number of “needed projects” throughout the district have been identified, according to Barna, which would help protect and improve the quality of its existing infrastructure.
Barna discussed potential financing options for these projects at a May 9 board meeting.
According to Barna, limiting the bonded amount to $20 million to $25 million would keep the district’s current debt service tax rate steady at 7.9 mills, while allowing the district to fund the necessary projects.
Additionally, Barna recommended a 10-year 0.5-mill sinking fund, which would allow funding of approximately $500,000 per year for 10 years to help cover building improvements and technology equipment not covered by the bond issuance and lower the approximated $5.4 million difference.
A sinking fund millage is different from a bond issue in that the bond issue is a lump-sum amount the district borrows and pays back through selling bonds. The sinking millage is a limited property tax, using more of a pay-as-you-go method to fund building remodeling projects as they are completed.
Recommended projects for Oxford High School include replacing worn pool interior finish, carpeting, and damaged classroom blinds.
Projects recommended for the elementary schools included the removal and replacement of worn playground equipment, updating fire alarm systems, and the replacement of parking lots and sidewalks.
Air conditioning units would also be installed and updated at all of the district’s elementary schools.
Roofs need updating throughout the district, including the roof at OHS, which is over 20 years old and leaks in certain areas.
Technology replacements, expected to cost approximately $600,000, would replace learning devices for students and staff, according to Barna.
Lighting in the parking lots was also recommended to be switched to energy-efficient LED lighting.
“We spend… about $600,000 a year on electricity. By converting much of the district, as much as we can at least to LED lighting, that would drastically reduce those operating costs,” said Barna.
The list could be prioritized, according to Barna, depending on how much funding the district can secure for the capital improvement projects.