By Sam Wildow
TROY — The Troy Board of Education held a special meeting Thursday in regard to finding out where the district stands in qualifying for state funding for a new school building and/or major repairs, as well as mentions of pursuing a ballot issue in May or November of next year.
Troy City Schools currently have seven elementary buildings with the average age of 77 years old, with the Concord and Van Cleve buildings being more than 100 years old. The district’s five-year plan includes building a new pre-kindergarten through sixth grade building. In March 2020, the district failed to pass a bond issue for its neighborhood school plan. The previous neighborhood school plan would have built three pre-kindergarten to fourth grade schools and a fifth and sixth grade middle school.
On Thursday, the board approved a resolution of intent to apply for participation in the the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) Expedited Local Partnership Program (ELPP). Board President Tom Kleptz said pursuing participation in the ELPP will let the district see where it stands in terms of receiving funding from the state for new construction.
“If they (OFCC) approve of the ELPP, it means we’re outside two years of getting funding from the state,” Kleptz said. “If they would deny the ELPP, they would indicate we are far enough up the list that we should be getting our money within the next two years. So it will give us a great idea as to what our next step of action is going to be.”
According to the application, the ELPP permits school districts that are over two years away from eligibility for state assistance under the Classroom Facilities Assistance Program (CFAP) to receive a district wide assessment and master facility plan from the OFCC. Program participants may spend local resources on a separate and discrete part of their overall master facility plan and later deduct qualifying expenditures from the school district share under the CFAP when the school district becomes eligible.
The board’s resolution states the district is planning to expand local resources to achieve a separate and distinct part of an overall master facilities plan of the school district’s facility needs as prepared, in conjunction with the OFCC, that is either new construction or major repairs.
If the OFCC approves of the ELPP, the board plans to pursue a possible ballot issue in May 2022. If the district does not qualify for ELPP, the board may not pursue a ballot issue until November 2022.
District Treasurer Jeff Price said they should know by mid-November of this year if the district was accepted into the OFCC’s ELPP.
Price added the ELPP will allow the OFCC to update its enrollment projection report, as well as the cost figures for the district’s master plan.
Kleptz suggested it may not have been a bad thing for the district to lose its last bond issue due to the increased cost of materials.
“If we had passed the last time and been quoting and bidding right now, we would probably be in a lot of trouble due to the cost increases of everything,” Kleptz said. Kleptz said an OFCC representative said the OFCC raised its price calculations by 20 percent.
“The ELPP means, basically as we did before, we basically had to fund or finance the entire cost of the project with the anticipation that, somewhere outside of the two-year window, we would get reimbursement from the state and pay down the financed debt,” Board member Doug Trostle said.
“It will give the board at that time the decision as to how they want to proceed,” Kleptz said. “This is non-committal.”
“It basically puts us in line,” Trostle said.