Schools look to put bond, sinking fund on Nov. ballot

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.


3 Responses to "Schools look to put bond, sinking fund on Nov. ballot"

  1. Ginny Benson   May 18, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    The school board keeps pouring money into OVA and the International program, which they say is making, not costing the district money, yet there is no money budgeted for maintenance or improvements? This district spends huge amounts on staff and ‘management’, yet it’s spending on students is far less than many other districts. The latest $52 + thousand being given to the exiting Dunkley is a prime example of this district’s mismanagement, and the current Board just voted to renew Throne’s contract for another 5 years?! Why? How is the current management of district funds a good thing? Their priorities are skewed, and throwing more money at them will only make it worse.

  2. Erik Dolan   May 19, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Hhhmm…. I hope that the voters go through this proposal with a fine-tooth comb to determine whether they believe the described level of spending is necessary and appropriate.

  3. Kallie Roesner   May 20, 2017 at 11:17 am

    Cut the IB and International program that are costing us more than a million a year and eliminate all “international” positions. We shouldn’t need special positions for foreign students. Create accurate and audited financials for the OVA and cut administration and administrator pay to match levels of comparable sized districts.

    Explain in a public meeting why you voted for a $30,000+ payoff to the Financial Officer to keep quiet and a $52,000 payoff to Dunckley when it was not in their written employment contract (requiref by law) and when you did not approve these Skilling deals and did not even know about them. Explain why you paid Skilling not to work and did not hold him accountable for what he did. This $$52,000 Dunckley payoff is another example of the Boards ineptitude and financial mismanagement.

    Explain in a public meeting why you bragged about kerping the fund balance up while you let our infrastructure crumble and ignored citizens who for two years have told you that you are lying to us and neglecting the facilities and that it’s going to cause us to have to make more expensive repairs later and force a bond or levy.

    Explain why you publicly ridicule people for using FOIA to get documents that should be redily available to the public (for example, the Superintendents reports, financial records, contracts and meeting packets). Yet, you have no problem spending thousands on meals and lavish furmature.

    Explain to the public why you ignored us when we have told you for years that 2nd year F-1 visa students were illegal. Explainan why you didn’t tell us that Homeland Security issued you a notice of violation and REMOVED these students from our high school mid-year. Yes, you violated law! Explain the reprocussion and costs of that and of the Remedial Action Plan (RAP) that the district was forced to sign that clearly states the District can not accept money from or provide ANY service to 2nd year students. Explain how much money we have to refund to Weiming and these students and our liability for violating law.

    Then, when you have done that you can talk to me about bonds and levy’s.

    Otherwise there is no way I will vote to give them more of my money for them to misappropriate!


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