July 22, 2014

Elyria
Clear
84°F
test

Avon voters to see levy in November

AVON — The proposed levy for a new $32 million middle school could be an easier sell for voters in the Avon school district due to debt restructuring.

With Tuesday’s board of education approval, the proposal will go on the November ballot as a
2.25-mill property tax for 32 years, costing the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $68.92 annually. But with the 20-year borrowing for Avon High School construction scheduled to be paid off in 2014, Avon Schools Treasurer Kent Zeman said debt restructuring will result in just $38.29 in additional annual cost to owners of a $100,000 home.

Zeman compared the restructuring to refinancing a mortgage. To raise the $32 million, the 2.25-mill levy must be approved, but with the high school debt retired in 2014, overall costs drop.

“We’re capturing that drop, we’re pulling it forward and utilizing that reduced principal payment in those years to then structure the (middle school) debt in a way that we don’t ever have to assess more than 1.25 mills,” Zeman said. “It’s advantageous to the community.”

Zeman said the average property value of an Avon home is about $230,000. For a $230,000 home, the annual levy cost would be an additional $88.07. A mill is $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value.

The new school would be built on property the district owns on Long Road and house up to 1,200 students in the sixth through eighth grades. If the measure is approved in November, the school could be ready by September 2014.

Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten pupils at Village Elementary would then be moved to the current middle school at 3075 Stoney Ridge Road, which houses seventh- and eighth-graders. Heritage North and Heritage South schools would house third- through fifth-graders.

The middle school has about 612 students but is projected to have 730 by 2014, members of a volunteer strategic planning committee told board members at a May 17 meeting. The district, which has 3,987 students, is the third-fastest growing district in Ohio, according to Superintendent Jim Reitenbach. Overall, the district is projected to grow to 4,605 students by 2014.

Kevin Romanchok, acting board president, called the proposal a “prudent” way to deal with increasing enrollment. Board member Scott Radcliffe said after the meeting that taxpayers have traditionally supported school levies.

“We’re obviously hoping for that again,” Radcliffe said. “It requires us getting out and talking to the people and letting them know what the facts are.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.