Troy Superintendent highlights building needs

By Sam Wildow

swildow@aimmediamidwest.com

TROY —Troy City Schools Superintendent Chris Piper spoke at the Troy Area Chamber of Commerce’s luncheon on Thursday, highlighting the district’s need for need schools.

Piper said while the district is currently not in campaigning mode, they are still making plans for a future bond issue and seeking out state funding for new schools.

According the Troy City Schools’ five-year strategic plan, the district needs a new K-6 school, and on Thursday, Piper told the chamber they plan on continuing to pursue the neighborhood school plan to build three pre-kindergarten to fourth grade schools and new a fifth and sixth grade middle school. The three elementary schools would be built in the south, east, and west portions of the city, and the fifth and sixth grade building would be built in the north.

“We want to go from seven buildings (kindergarten through sixth grade) down to four,” Piper said. The district currently has a total of nine buildings, including the junior high and high schools.

Instead of pursuing building them all together at once, Piper said their current plan is to construct the new fifth and sixth grade building first if the district is not eligible for state funding right away.

“Our plan is to go to the voters with this local partnership program, authorized by the state, to build a fifth and sixth grade building. Since state funding is not immediately available to us that cost would be a local cost to build that building,” Pipers said. “Once you get that plan approved by the state that funding is locked in, so when our turn does come up for state funding, the state will credit us for the cost of that fifth and sixth grade building.”

Once the district receives that funding from the state, the district then plans to build the other three elementary schools.

Piper said the state may also decide to offer the district more immediate funding, within the next two years, at which point the district would look at going after funding to construct all four of those buildings at the same time.

In addition to building new schools, improvements are needed at the Troy High School, which was built in 1954, to add air conditioning to the building. The Troy Junior High School, which was built in 1973, is the only TCS school that has air conditioning.

Also during the luncheon on Thursday, Piper highlighted the district’s approximate $50 million operating budget, approximately 80 percent of which goes toward salaries and benefits. Other expenditures include $7.8 million for purchased services, like special education, as well as $3 million for supplies, materials, and capital outlay.

Funding sources for the district’s budget include general property taxes, which contribute $16.8 million; the 1.5 percent earned income tax, which contributes $12 million; state funding, which contributes approximately $15.2 million; and other sources, like federal funds, that contribute approximately $5 million.

“Our property tax rate is as low as it is legally allowed to be,” Piper said.