SCHOOL IS CLOSED TODAY
UPDATE: Due to icy road conditions, we are closed today, Monday, January 25, 2021.
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525 E. Main Street
Hebron, OH 43025
P: 740-928-5878
F: 740-928-3152
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We are a community of learners inspiring each student to explore, grow, and achieve.

Bond and Levy Information

New! Elementary School Bond

On January 13, 2021 the Lakewood Local Board of Education unanimously voted 5-0 to approve the final resolution to proceed with the bond issue for the new elementary school. 

 

The Board of Education decided to return to the voters with the bond issue for a new Pre-K through 5thgrade elementary school. The bond issue is for $31,300,000 at an estimated 2.65 mills. The cost for the owner of a $100,000 home is $92.70 per year. While the board has brought this issue to the community previously, historically low interest rates mean that the cost per homeowner is lower, making it a better value for taxpayers.

 

The new elementary school will replace Hebron Elementary and Jackson Intermediate schools, providing updated instructional spaces for our youngest Lancers. 

 

“Our youngest Lakewood students deserve an educational setting that has the spaces and classrooms that reflect current learning styles. Hebron and Jackson unfortunately do not provide the necessary large and small group spaces for instruction as well as the ability to accommodate the increased instructional technology easily,” said Dr. Mark Gleichauf, Lakewood Superintendent. 

 

The age of the Hebron building, built in 1914, creates many challenges for teachers and students. Jackson Intermediate, which was originally built in 1968 (building A) and 1972 (building B), presents similar challenges with its annex and additional building that houses preschool. 

 

“Maintaining two different buildings and an annex for Jackson Intermediate is not efficient and creates more expenditures for the District. Having all our Preschool through fifth graders in one complex creates a more efficient and fiscally responsible situation, while allowing our students in those grades to have the modern instructional spaces they deserve,” Gleichauf added.

 

The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission has recommended replacing, rather than renovating, Jackson Intermediate because the cost to renovate is so high and would not extend the life of the building as long as a new construction. 

 

Lakewood Local Schools were on the ballot in March 2020 for the same $31.3 million dollars with a 3.80 mil bond issue that would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home $133 per year. 

 

“This bond issue provides a tremendous value for our taxpayers at only 2.65 mils. Because of the current low interest rates, the Lakewood taxpayer is saving nearly $40 per year in taxes from the previous bond issue attempted,” Gleichauf shared.

 

The District plans on a campaign that will help Lakewood taxpayers understand the educational benefits of new facilities for our elementary students and the incredible value this bond issue presents for our community.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is a new elementary school needed?

A new elementary school is needed to provide the best education possible for our students. The physical school structure has a tremendous impact on students, staff and community. A recent article from Penn State University shared, “A growing body of research has found that school facilities can have a profound impact on both teacher and student commitment and effort. With respect to teachers, school facilities affect teacher recruitment, retention, commitment and effort. With respect to students, school facilities affect health, behavior, engagement, learning and growth in achievement… without adequate facilities and resources, it is extremely difficult to serve large number of children with complex needs.”

Our aging facilities at Hebron and Jackson present many challenges for staff and students. These challenges include: limited educational space, climate control and air conditioning, safety, technology limitations, electrical challenges, lack of air conditioning at Hebron, traveling outdoors between buildings at Jackson, among others. As the buildings continue to get older, maintaining those facilities also becomes more costly. It is for these reasons that we are seeking a new facility for our elementary school students.

2. How did the district decide to build a new school rather than renovate existing buildings?

The Elementary Planning Team, led by architects specializing in educational facilities and including community members, staff and students, worked together over several months to explore options to address aging elementary school facilities and educational goals for the future of Lakewood schools. During the study, it was determined that the cost to renovate the school would be more than 80% of the cost to build new. A new building is expected to last for 50 years. The OFCC (Ohio Facilities Construction Commission) recommends building new when the cost to renovate is 66% or greater than the cost to build new. This information led the Elementary Planning Team and the School Board to decide that building new was the best solution.

3. I want to help with the levy. How do I get involved?

Thank you for your interest in supporting the levy. Please send an email to the Lancer Pride Levy Committee at [email protected]

4. What are the cost and terms of the levy?

The bond issue on the March ballot is for $31,300,000 over 28 years and will be collected at an estimated 2.65 mills. The cost for the owner of a $100,000 is $92.70 per year.

The bond millage is an estimate. Voters are approving the project description, the maximum amount of the bond and the maximum term of the bond. The millage is only an informational item and the tax could change depending on the interest rate at the time the bonds are sold.

5. What is a mill?

A mill is 1/10 of one penny. Ex. A mill produces $1.00 in tax income for every $1000 of assessed property value. Example: A $100,000 home times 35% (the assessment rate) equals assessed property value of $35,000 divided by $1,000 equals $35.00 per mill. $35.00 times 3.9 mills equal $136.50 per year.  

6. What is the process to design and build the elementary school when the bond is approved?

When the bond passes, the district will hire an architect and design firm. The design firm will engage district stakeholders, gather information from previous facilities assessments, and initiate design input meetings. It’s important that our community has input into the features and design of our new elementary school.

7. How will the district choose an architect?

The district will follow an outlined selection process to choose an architect.  That process includes:
  • Advertising that we are seeking qualified design professionals.
  • Interviewing the firms so they can share their philosophies with respect to project delivery and working with the Board; their practices with respect to quality control measures for the drawings and specifications; and the firm’s approach to construction administration.
  • When an architect is selected, the Board will approve the awarding of the contract to the chosen architect.

8. How does the district choose a builder?

Once the final design plans are complete, the project is placed for public bidding. 

9. How will the district ensure that the project will not be over budget?

We are planning conservatively for the construction of the new school by planning at the high end of the estimated cost and planning for contingencies. Additionally, we will use a Construction Manager at Risk (CM-R) program. This allows us to establish a Guaranteed Maximum Price before we begin the construction. That price is the aligned upon cost of the project. At that point, the CM-R would cover any project costs that are driven by errors, corrections or contractor-driven changes. The district would be responsible for any district driven changes or unforeseen conditions of the site. Funds to cover district costs would come from the district’s contingency budget that is planned into the construction cost.

10. What will students do while the new building is being constructed?

Students will remain in their current buildings during the construction of the new elementary school. 

11. How old is the Hebron building?

The original building was built in 1914 with a gym addition in 1934 and classroom additions in 1952, 1954 and 1956.

12. When was Jackson Intermediate built?

Jackson A was constructed in 1968. Jackson B was constructed in 1972 with additions in 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976.

13. Why does the district plan to tear down Jackson?

When the OFCC estimated renovation and new construction costs at Jackson, their recommendation was to build new. The renovation cost was 83% of the cost to build new. The Jackson facility, while not as old as Hebron, has significant issues including: a leaking roof, leaking foundation, inconsistent heating and cooling, electrical problems, multiple buildings requiring 3rd grade students to travel outside for gym, lunch and specials, as well as significantly smaller classrooms than the state standard. Additionally, having all Pre-K – 5th grade students in one building significantly reduces operating costs (for example, one kitchen instead of two) and reduces student transitions between buildings.

14. Is the central office moving to the “main campus” as well?

This plan does not include moving the central office to the “main campus.”  The priority of the bond issue is to build a new elementary school.

15. Why does the district give tax abatements?

Many abatements do not require the approval of the District, however, from time to time the District is asked to approve tax incentives for businesses. In that case, offering the abatements encourages businesses to move into the district. That means more jobs for the people in our community as soon as the business moves in and, while the property tax benefits for our District may be delayed, we will receive taxes from those businesses down the road. 

16. What percentage of total property taxes do local businesses in the district pay?

Almost a third of the district property taxes collected are paid by businesses located in the community. Therefore, about a third of the taxes needed for the bond issue will come from local businesses as well. As business continues to grow in the community, they could further offset taxes from residents needed to repay the bonds.

17. When will Lakewood High School be paid off?

Lakewood High School will be paid off in December 2026. This is a separate tax levy assessment that will no longer be paid after that time. Today, residents are paying 1.7 mills for the high school bonds. A taxpayer with a $100,000 home value will see a reduction in taxes of $39.50 per year.

18. Why don't you find a different way to pay for the school than raising property taxes again?

We understand that no one likes to see their taxes increase, that’s why we involved a group of community members in helping to determine the best way to fund a new school. The group met for several months with a financial consultant through the Finance Taskforce to explore different funding options. After learning about how schools are funded, exploring different funding options and sharing their recommendations with the school board, the school board determined that a property tax was the most affordable and fair way to fund the bond issue. With a property tax, local businesses will pay around 33% of the taxes, bringing down the total cost for our home owners.
 
We also reviewed what we can fund through state monies through the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to release the burden on our local taxpayers. For Fiscal Year 19, our district was ranked 537th out of 610 school districts on the ODE equity rank list (or the 73rd "wealthiest" district) with a local share percentage of 88%. A school district’s priority for state assistance from the OFCC is based on the district’s three-year average “adjusted valuation per pupil.” The lower (higher number) we fall on the ranking, the less likely to be eligible for state money.
 
The emergency levies, like the one the community approved in November 2019, fund district operations; things like salaries, utilities, maintenance, etc. and are not allowed to be used for the building of a new building. Those monies are what keep the district running. While we will continue to need to renew the operating levies, those levies have not increased and we do not anticipate needing additional operating funds.

19. How will this one new building benefit kids across the district?

The bond issue will benefit kids across the district by providing a new facility for PreK - 5th grade. Some of the benefits of the bond issue include: ADA compliance; maximized instructional time; increased saftey of students; improved access to technology; a more comfortable learning environment; more opportunties for teacher collaboration; less upkeep/maintaince compared to older buildings

We’ve also been able to address some areas at the high school and middle school without additional tax dollars. Those improvements include: safety vestibules at both buildings, renovated science and life skills labs at the middle school, renovated and added bathrooms at the middle school and a student success center at the high school to support career and college readiness. 

With the work we’ve completed so far and the work we’ll be able to complete when the bond issue passes, all of our buildings will be in good working condition with air conditioning, classroom spaces that support 21st century learning needs, effective technology infrastructure and flexible spaces that will allow for expansion in the future as needed.  

Additional Information

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