NEW PHILADELPHIA (Tusco TV) - School district officials are now preparing to head to the ballot with a nearly $42-million bond request to pay for two new buildings. 

The New Philadelphia Board of Education passed a resolution Monday declaring their intent to present a 1.8-mill bond issue to district voters for approval. Superintendent David Brand says the bond issue would help cover the district’s 45 percent local share of a more than $100-million construction project that includes a new preschool through 6th-grade building in the downtown area and a facility for grades 7-12 on University Drive. 

“That resolution does include the entire project, the elementary and the secondary school, the middle and high school as well, and that allows us to take advantage of that 55 percent share and that payment coming from the State of Ohio, and it’s over 55 million dollars,” he says.

Brand says the plan would save the district around $600,000 a year in operational costs and about $14.5 million over 10 years on building maintenance, so they shouldn’t have to go back to voters anytime soon to ask for more money. 

“Between the operational savings and things like that, that allows us to extend the need for an operating levy to much, much farther down the line than our current model, because our current model is going to cost more to operate on a year-in and year-on basis,” he says. 

Brand says they would also sell off the existing buildings to generate even more operating dollars.

We are utilising the value of land that we have to reduce the cost to the local taxpayer because they’ve already invested into some of our land, and so if we move one unified elementary school, the state helps you to raze those properties and then we can sell them to investors working with the city to build homes or businesses. 

Brand says they hope to present the bond issue to voters this fall. 

“As long as everything continues to fall in line, and this is the step that’s needed to be done along with land acquisition is one of the other key pieces for us,” he says.

Treasurer Julie Erwin says the total ask includes 1.3-mills for 36 years for the construction and a state-required half-mill maintenance levy that would be permanent. She estimates it would cost the owner of a $100,000 just under $18 a month, although she says the county auditor still has to certify those calculations.