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New high school and renovations planned in Streetsboro

By Bob Gaetjens Gateway News Editor Published: February 10, 2013 4:00 AM
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The Streetsboro Board of Education has decided to complete an entire facilities update for the district in one step.

There were two basic elements of a master plan the board was considering last week: The first element is building a new high school that would include the renovation of the current high school as a middle school. The current middle school would then no longer be used as a classroom building. The second element is renovating Campus Elementary School to accommodate kindergarten through third-grade students. Under that plan, Wait Primary School would be closed.

With those components as goals, Ohio School Facilities Commission Senior Planner Bill Prenosil and Streetsboro Superintendent Dr. Tim Calfee presented three options to the board at a meeting Friday: Complete the entire master plan in one step, requiring passage of one bond issue; close the middle school and build the new high school first; or close Wait and do the Campus renovations first. The second two options would have required passage of two separate bond requests, according to Calfee and Prenosil.

Prenosil said there is "a 90 percent likelihood" the district will qualify for OSFC funding, which would pay for 35 percent of the cost of the master plan.

"If you don't, you'll certainly get funded next year," he told the board.

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The board did not decide when to place a bond issue on the ballot.

While the total cost of the project is estimated at $66.5 million, the district would have to come up with $29.2 million to complete the plan with no extra options like an auditorium, field house or track.

Raising $29.2 million would require an estimated 3.42 mills, plus an additional half mill the OSFC requires to ensure the facility can continue to be operated. The combined cost for the owner of a $100,000 home would be $124 annually, according to district financial documents.

The rest of the money comes from the state's 35 percent of the project's cost, $23 million, and the district's credit of $13.9 million. The credit has been built up over the past 10 to 12 years as the it has completed necessary projects that also are part of the master plan, according to Prenosil.

Participating in the Expedited Local Partnership Program, which allowed for the accumulation of credit was a good call, Prenosil said.

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"I think your district was really smart in the decisions you made," he told the Board.

Because of the way the state's share is distributed and several other factors, board member Andy Lesak said it makes sense to place the entire plan before voters at once rather than in separate pieces.

"If you do it in segments, the first segment is very favorable" because the entire state share in paid out, but "the next segment becomes cost prohibitive because it's all on you," he said.

Additionally, completing one segment at a time prevents the district from realizing savings from other parts of the plan, Lesak said. Some of the anticipated savings come from closing Wait Primary School or the middle school.

If the district builds in two phases, inflation could drive up the cost of the project, Calfee said.

Another factor in the district's favor is the district's enrollment projections, Prenosil said. The most recent projects for the high school indicate it should have 657 students in five years.

That compares favorably with the prior projection that 534 could be at the high school in 10 years, he said. The OSFC bases the size of the building it will contribute to on enrollment, Prenosil said. The higher the enrollment estimate, the more square footage the OSFC will help pay for.

"The bottom line is, it will save the district money," Prenosil said.

But the favorable enrollment projection may only save money on the first phase of a two-phase plan. A new enrollment projection study is conducted each fall to calculate what the OSFC will pay for, Prenosil said.

And there's no guarantee the enrollment in Streetsboro will increase.

"With our 657 number, that's the best enrollment number we've had in the last four or five years," Calfee said.

Lesak said if the board wants to build a school based on housing 750 students, the "difference would be on us."

The board agreed to conduct community forums and a survey in the coming weeks to gauge community sentiment about the plan.

Contact this reporter at 330-541-9440 or bgaetjens@recordpub.com

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anonymous Feb 12, 2013 8:22 AM

Its always interesting when people make personal attacks against me for posting comments in a public forum, yet they don't actually respond to the material in my posts. I'm all for a respectful debate of my comments but see no point in personal attacks. How do people know I haven't run for school board already? How do they know if I attend board meetings, school meetings or anything else that I may or may not do within the schools? How do they know I don't work within the district and would lose my job over signing my real name. How do they know that what I say wouldn't have detrimental affects on my kids within the school system. Yet, show me where my information is inaccurate. And realize the difference between a my personal opinion/comment and information that is fact. I agree with ctk, I don't care if you agree or disagree with my comments. But I feel the public has a right to be made aware of information that the district chooses not to disclose. The best resource I have to disclose that information with out having a detrimental affect on my kids or my job may be this comment section here. People who don't like it, don't have to read it. Thanks to the record courier for the opportunity to post information and opinions.

anonymous Feb 11, 2013 9:01 PM

Not attacking redleg, just pointing out the facts as many others before I have done. I also don't care if you agree or disagree. Shalom. :)

anonymous Feb 11, 2013 6:00 PM

@ctk Understand this*** Redleg6 talks about the issues. I think for my self, and form my own opinions...I don't care if you to agree or disagree. If I "making up fictitious stories and posting negatives comments" as you said...Show me where you disagree. Show me where I'm wrong..I'll change my mind... Does it elevate you to attack people just because you disagree with what they say?..The only negative post on this page, is yours...ctk...You're doing exactly what your accusing factualinfo,& redleg6 of doing.

anonymous Feb 11, 2013 2:30 PM

@factualinfo, Go to a board meeting and speak up! Write an editiorial and sign your name to it. You act like you know it all, so why don't you go public with your thoughts? Run for office as redleg6 suggested and stop hiding behind a screenname, why not you know it all?

Truth is factualinfo and redleg6 bad mouth teachers and admins in every school and district the RC writes articles about. They don't actually know what each case by case scenario is, but that doesn't stop them from making up fictitious stories and posting negatives comments about them all.

anonymous Feb 11, 2013 10:48 AM

With regards to the money required by OFSC for operating cost. You realize that is just for the HS costs of a new building right? That isn't operating cost for the whole district to be sustainable. The board is always expressing their concerns that we are already looking at financial constrainst within the next year or so. Especially depending on what the federal and state funding becomes during that time. Can the district really say that it won't be seeking any new operating levies for the next 5 years (other than renewal of existing levies)? I doubt it. Obviously, the new plan from the state doesn't have much in it to keep that burden off the land owners. So, in addition to this HS levy, there will be operating levies coming soon. How much can the land owner really afford if they are on a fixed income? Sometimes, its not about depriving the district of what it wants but it comes down to meeting the basic housing/living needs of a family/elderly within the community. I hope people take time to really think about ALL the people within our community higher taxes will effect versus new facilities for the district. As I've stated before, personally, I would be willing to sacrifice some of my families income to see something positive for the district. Even though mine will all be graduated next year and will not see the benefits. But I completely understand those that can't afford to make that choice. It would certainly be nice to see some of the pro-levy people come to the middle on the issue and look at those that it also effects in the ocmmunity.

anonymous Feb 11, 2013 10:36 AM

As far as the board getting public input, great. Hopefully they will use it and not just do it for public perception sake alone. People still remember the last time the district wanted a new HS and the lies that were told then. You're right, this is a different time but people still have very little faith in this board. Also, while people keep voting for the same board members, I don't think it is a ringing endorsement that people think the schools are being handled well. If that was the case, it wouldn't have taken all the threats and busing cuts to pass a levy on its fourth try. The never ending revolving door of administators doesn't help their cause either. Its the cover up by the district on things like cameras in the weight room, teachers being allowed to retire/resign and getting paid for months without setting foot in the buildings, its the fact that board members are facing felony charges and nothing is addressed about it. These are things that people in the community recognize and think about when they go to the poles. You might not think its fair to equate these with the need for a new HS and facilities but the voters do and that's just reality.

anonymous Feb 11, 2013 10:23 AM

Interesting that the new super has been with the district for not even three years and that is considered "a long time". Guess in Streetsboro terms, anyone lasting more than a year is a long time here. While you may believe that everyone in the district thinks he's great, you'd be surprised at the number of district employees at all levels that have their reservations. Of course they won't publicly voice those concerns about an administrator but they're watching. Also interesting that he was never a principle before he moved here, he was never a curriculum director and definitely never a superintendent. Quite a quick rise for someone who was let go from his last job. Again, time will tell but don't think everyone is on board with this choice both within the district and within the community.

anonymous Feb 10, 2013 10:56 PM

Thank you anonymous. IF factualinfo had been going to the board meetings they would have also been informed of the fact that the BOE DOES plan to engage the entire community in this process through public forums and meetings, and I think Cindy mentioned doing something on survey monkey too. There was also discussion about rental revenue from an audiotorium, and naturally the OSFC stipulation to require disctricts to put on a half mil operating levy to support the new facility. The advantage to doing the district projects all at once is a terrific choice. If the projects are segmented out, OSFC requires a seperate half mil operating levy for each project. Factualinfo does have a great idea to invite the corporate community in- but again...at the BOE meetings this is something that is already being done. Without corporate sponsorship our middle school would not have been able to establish the STEM program. I know sometimes that these things that are going on don't always get reported and people assume they aren't getting done.

As for the comments on our new superintendent, you seriously do not know what you are talking about. He has been a leader in our district for a long time and he is respected by peers, administration, students, and parents. He is very forward thinking and the definiation of reliable. He took on a leadership role through our strategic planning process and did so quite admirably.

I understand that at one time our community was very polarized over the schools- and I do concede with good cause. However, the community, as evidenced by increased attendence at school events, our excellent rating, and levy passages all indicate that we are less polarized than in the past.

Its easy to get on these blogs and tell everyone what THEY should be doing. What you should really be asking yourself is what am I doing? Furthermore, will favorable results be attained by my actions? I complain about things in the district, I even spoke at a BOE meeting last month regarding a policy gap. The BOE does not tell me or anybody else how to think. Sometimes people are in agreement and sometimes not- BUT they didn't get into office by some coup d'etat. They were elected- and in the last election, all but one incumbent was re-elected. So...if the BOE is so detested then why are the same people still there?

anonymous Feb 10, 2013 4:00 PM

Factulinfo your comments contain no facts. If you had been going to the Board meetings you would be heard the plan for the current HS and the rest of the district. No, it does not include asbestos and operating funds have to be included in the original levy approval. Don't say you have been there for these discussions because I know for a FACT that you weren't.

anonymous Feb 10, 2013 3:32 PM

@FactualInfo, If you are a resident of Streetsboro, I suggest you run for BOE! or see if the BOE will hire you as a consultant. You have the most sensible/reasonable approach of trying to solve the issues... Informative comments-some good ideas!

anonymous Feb 10, 2013 3:03 PM

If the board really wants this to pass, be honest up front with the public. Listen to their concerns and address them truthfully. Where will the operating money for the new buildings/staff, etc come from? Will they be sustainable or will the district be saying we need operating money as soon as the new HS is built? Will consolidation reduce the cost/number of employees and reduce costs to the operating budget or not? Let's build the "extras" into the plan and make them open to the public. Rent out the auditorium to local groups and include them in the process of wanting the new facilities. Same goes for a track and other facilities. Make them something the public wants and has equal access to like other districts. Work with local businesses in sponsoring/funding some of the extras now, not after everything else is done. If the public doesn't have a vested interest except for the "yes" people saying do it for the kids, it won't work. Quit only listening to and preaching to the choir, get outside and meet the real public and make this project a win-win for them. Other districts have more because the city/community/schools work together and all have access and a vested interest in the success. That still doesn't happen here. Again, there are so many positive ways to move this forward but when the "yes" people just smack back at the public like the second comment below, there isn't even going to be a hope of this working. It can't just be about the kids and saying they deserve it. It has to be about what benefit will it be to the whole community and be truthful about it from beginning to end!!!

anonymous Feb 10, 2013 2:54 PM

Sadly, this will become yet another polarized issue for our school district because of the fact that the extremist on both sides refuse to see anyones perspective but their own. As for the person who will become our new superintendent, that's just a disaster waiting to happen. Talk to the people from his last district to get a real perspective of the problems we will face with this inexperienced choice in a superintendent. Not to mention the continual revolving door of administators due to bad decisions by our board over and over and over again. Personally, I would love for our kids to get new facilities but we need a board who will actually listen to the general public and not just those that are gung ho for whatever the board proposes. Btw, the plan is to move our MS kids to that asbestos infested HS building so not sure how we can act indignant and the current plan will not give us better field/track/auditorium facilities.

anonymous Feb 10, 2013 12:42 PM

As a parent of a freshman, imagine my frustration as I travel to other school systems and see what they have and Streetsboro doesn't.

I went out to Champion HS for a football game. A small community in the shadows of the Youngstown schools.

and yet they had a very proper track for their track team.

Heck tiny West Branch had facilities that buries Streetsboro.

I'm embarrassed to reveal to others that my child has to have classes in trailers.

Streetsboro has a HS that looked outdated in the 1970s. Other than Windham,its the worst looking HS in the county.

I'm sure it affects the morale of the students and teachers alike with the condition of the HS.

I mean who actually feels good walking into that relic?

cannot wait for the new SI to take over and we can stop with the rent-a-SI and make some progress.

rareearth needs to get a clue

anonymous Feb 10, 2013 7:30 AM

Yeah...the facilities are just great rareearth57- what parent doesnt dream of the day we can send our kids to asbestos filled buildings, have trailers for classrooms, play football on fields when the ducks aren't swimming on them, clearing spaces in classrooms for the buckets to collect water from leaking roofs, bad wiring that causes buildings to burn to the ground- yeah, what nerve we all have. You got my yes vote Streetsboro... I know a once in a lifetime opportunity when I see one.

anonymous Feb 10, 2013 7:18 AM

As one of the taxpayers I say you people have a lot of brass trying to build a new school. The schools we have are just fine. I don't know who's big idea this is, but we will defeat it at the polls.