Warren County school board decreases taxes for newly approved bond issue

Franklin City Schools residents will pay less than expected for a school construction bond issue passed last month.

At its Nov. 23 meeting, the Franklin Board of Education approved a resolution to decrease the bond issue millage from 6.52-mills to 4.94-mills in 2020 with the taxes first due in 2021.

The millage reduction for the bond issue means a property valued at $100,000 will now cost $172.90, which is down from $228.20 from the higher millage approved by voters, according to the Warren County Auditor’s Office.

The bond issue will generate $66 million for the district’s share of the overall $130 million building project, according to district officials. Officials said the change met a promise to voters to keep the bond issue less than 5-mills.

“The board needed to vote on this rollback because the bond issue ballot language was 6.52 mills,” said interim treasurer Robert Giuffre. “The state of Ohio dictates the ballot language for bond issues, and it’s based on the assumption that the community’s property values are unchanged for the entire 37 years of the bond issue.”

Franklin’s bond issue passed on Nov. 3 by a margin of 60% to 40% for the building program to construct four new buildings and the complete renovation of a fifth, which will convert the current high school into a junior high school.

Earlier this month, Superintendent Michael Sander said the district is beginning preliminary steps of the design phase now, which will involve site surveys and preparation, and committees meeting to provide input on building design and aesthetics.

Because Franklin is participating in the Expedited Local Partnership Program, the state will pay 57% of the cost of the four new classroom buildings which required voters to approve the bond issue for the local share. The state funding is expected to be released in 2027, according to district and state officials.

Sander said there would be a one-year design phase and two years of construction if the bond issue passes. The new high school will be open in fall 2023 with the middle school opening in fall 2025.

The local bond issue funding will cover the costs of a new high school with career tech, renovation of the existing high school for use as a middle school housing grades 6-8 and other site improvements, including a new roof.

It would also cover local initiatives such as constructing a new bus garage, moving the central office into the new high school building, installing gas and other utility lines, and the demolition of Hampton Bennett School for a new student parking lot.

When the state funding becomes available in 2027, the district plans to construct three new elementary schools the current Gerke, Schenck and Hunter sites.

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