NEW BREMEN — Kindergartners through junior high students moved a major step closer Wednesday to attending a new school as the New Bremen local school board unanimously approved a resolution toward a $13 million project for the 2020-21 school year.
A 30-year 8.46 mill property tax levy that passed in the May 2 election is scheduled to raise $7.5 million, and a state match of $5.67 million will being the total to $13,176,514 according to documents prepared by board treasurer Jill Ahlers. New Bremen voters had turned down the levy twice before it passed.
“I’m excited for the (New Bremen) district,” said Superintendent Andre Townsend. She explained that the current elementary school “is so old. It’s had six or seven additions since it was built in 1929. Townsend won’t officiate at the new school, however. She recently was selected as superintendent for West Carrollton schools. Her successor has not yet been named.
Tom Paul, board president, said the original building housed grades 1 through 12 until 1955. From the time Paul called the special meeting to order, it took less than 15 minutes for board discussion and its unanimous decision to approve a resolution to move forward in the process.
First, the school district board must meet a June 17 deadline to take part in the state Classroom Facilities Assistance Program. In anticipation of approval of that step, which commits the state money, a school district bond council is scheduled to meet Monday to begin the nine- to 12-month process to contract a bond brokerage to start selling bonds by late summer.
Then an architect will be selected to design the new building, and finally construction bids will be sought.
Only one school board member, Scott Bertke, has served through the first two voter turn-downs and the levy passage. “It was a learning process,” Bertke said, “to determine taxpayers’ needs and come forth with a proposal.”
Bertke added that the key to voters approving the levy in May was the payoff of the 1999 “mortgage” for New Bremen High School. That levy will end before the K-8 millage begins. The owner of a $100,000 home will pay $261 per year for construction and $30 to $35 per yer for permanent improvements.
Board member Shelly Busse also credited the levy’s success to an ad hoc committee that built the voter base for passage. “They (committee members) did a very nice job. They had a very solid plan with all members on board with a solid marketing plan. Many people stepped up and did their part.”
The $13 million price tag includes funds to raze the old elementary and junior high school at the corner of Plum and South Walnut streets. The new building will be attached to the high school on East Monroe Street.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.