Board votes to renovate Anna schools

By Alexandra Newman -

ANNA — Anna Local Schools will be under renovation in the next few years.

At the Anna Board of Education meeting Monday night, the board accepted the Facility Planning Committee Master Plan recommendation to perform renovations at both the elementary and middle/high schools.

Participating in an Ohio School Facilities Project to perform the renovations will allow part of the project be funded by the state. In addition to these prescribed renovations, the committee recommended $1 million be included for locally funded initiatives, items like the gymnasium space, auditoriums, and school board offices.

The Ohio School Facility Commission (OSFC) has a 30-40 year standard and commits to a like-new approach when recommending renovations. The total proposed project is projected to cost $19.5 million with the state paying $9.5 million. The Anna Local Schools Board of Education will ask voters to approve funding for Anna’s share which is the $10 million required to complete this renovation project.

The committee also recommended the board consider a combined property tax/income tax option to fund the project so as to distribute the tax burden as widely as permissible. The board reviewed the recommended project, potential funding options, and necessary steps to place a bond issue on the March 2016 ballot.

The income portion will be 0.25 percent, the lowest rate permitted by law, and the millage rate is projected to be less than 3-mills. The term of both taxes will be 18 years. While Anna may be one of the last area districts to participate in an OSFC project, having debt for 18 years will allow them to be the first to have theirs paid off.

At a community meeting at the end of September, attendees got a chance to vote on which plan they would support. A large percentage of the audience was in favor of this plan, and not supportive of any other plan offered.

Superintendent Andy Bixler said there will be numerous opportunities to ask questions and find more information. Any questions about the project may be directed to him or Treasurer Denny Raberding at 937-394-2011, option 5.

Also at the meeting Monday, the board voted to employ Mindy Seitz as EMIS and payroll coordinator.

John Holtzapple, elementary principal, informed the board of the recent school safety drill that was conducted involving all students and staff in the district. Cindy Endsley highlighted efforts of John Bruce preparing 8th grade students for the upcoming trip to Washington D.C. Joel Staudter reviewed High School Guidance programming led by Michelle Holsinger this fall.

He also requested that the board approve out of state trips for members of the FFA to attend the National Convention in Louisville and for FCCLA members to go to the National Cluster Meeting in Indianapolis. The board acted to approve both trips.

Treasurer Dennis Raberding presented the five-year forecast for expenditures and receipts of the general fund in fiscal years 16 through 20. The forecast shows that anticipated revenues should exceed expenditures for the next couple of years. Also, the general fund balance is adequate for district operations for the duration of the forecast.

After discussing both the revenue and expenditure sections of the forecast, the school board took action to adopt it as presented. Raberding also reminded the board of the upcoming vote for the permanent improvement levy renewal that will take place in the November election.

By Alexandra Newman

Reach this writer at 937-538-4825; follow on Twitter @SDNAlexandraN

Reach this writer at 937-538-4825; follow on Twitter @SDNAlexandraN