By Jeff Gallatin
School officials plan to determine by the end of June how much they will ask voters to approve when they place a capital improvements bond levy on the ballot in November.
“Right now, we’re looking at something in the teens up to a maximum of $20 million,” Superintendent Clint Keener said Friday. “We’re still reviewing information we already have and waiting for the final reports from the architectural firm, so we can see what it says and go from there. We’re shooting for the June 25 board of education meeting. We should have the final figure settled by then.”
Keener said district officials were set to talk to ADA Architects, the Lakewood firm doing the work, this week and tentatively plan to send a report from the firm to school board members next week.
“We want the board members to be able to go over information from the report, so they can ask questions or seek additional information about it,” he said. “We’ll then discuss over the next couple of meetings and be able to reach a decision about what we want to put on the ballot.”
During discussion at the May 14 school board meeting, board member Bill Selong and other members checked on the timing of the report from ADA, saying it would be pertinent to the levy discussion.
“It makes sense for them to want to go over the information and ideas from the architects, we’re going to do the same thing on the administrative staff,” Keener said. “They’ll have some recommendations, I’m sure. We’ll present that to the board, but we’ll go over the info as well and might have some rankings of our own as to what we think we should do.”
Keener said based on current information, the district has about $30 million in facility work which could be done, but he said officials definitely will not be seeking that high a figure.
“We’re not going to do that,” he said. “Our major reason for doing something like this is to decide what needs to be done the most to keep the school facilities we have running efficiently for a large number of years. We want to do renovations and other work now which will keep us from having to seek new buildings for a longer period of time.”
Keener said the district is fortunate that Bay High School is in good shape compared to other buildings and high schools.
“We need to work on HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) and electrical systems to come up to current needs in schools, but the overall building itself is holding up well, which means we should not have to do as much,” he said.
Daryl Stumph, the associate superintendent for business operations, said work needed at the high school will focus on renovations in the HVAC and other areas.
“We need to do some work in the science areas to bring them up to contemporary needs,” he said. “That can be addressed relatively easily.”
Stumph said other work at Westerly and Normandy schools can also move them forward and allow the district to utilize them for a longer period of time and install new programs, such as all-day kindergarten. which is scheduled to start in the district in 2012-13.
“We’re going to set everything up so we can get the maximum use out of all our facilities,” he said.
Keener said district board and administration officials should have productive discussions in the coming weeks.
“We’re trying to get this in so we can have everybody’s input before some people are out of town,” he said.”We have to have it ready for the ballot by August, but we’ll be ready for that time period.”
Keener said after the board settles on the levy amount, it will forward a resolution of necessity to Cuyahoga County officials, then formally approve in July putting the levy on the ballot.
“We’re going to make sure information on what we’re proposing is available to residents,” he said.