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Friday, May 6, 2016

Project explained to public

Friday, September 21, 2007

CLAY CITY-- On Thursday night, the Clay Community School Corporation school board held a special information session for the public to discuss the proposed renovation project.

Several community members attended the meeting at Clay City Jr./Sr. High School.

After a greeting from School Board President Terry Barr, representatives from Schmidt Associates and City Securities gave a presentation on the proposed projects and financing.

Immediately following the presentation, members of the audience were given three minutes each to comment or ask questions.

Tom Neff from Schmidt Associates began the presentation with the overall goals to the project; to bring all facilities to an equal operating level and to not raise the tax rate.

The presentation given on Thursday outlined the proposed work on each of the corporation's 10 schools, corporate office, and bus garage.

The $53 million dollar project would try to model the elementary schools in the corporation after Jackson Township Elementary School.

Jackson Township Elementary went through a renovation and addition project in 2002.

Jackson Township would receive the least amount of renovation, including new sewers connections and outside masonry.

Clay City Elementary, Forest Park Elementary, and Van Buren Elementary would not receive additions, only renovations.

Staunton Elementary, Meridian Elementary, and East Side Elementary would have new construction as well as renovation of current facilities.

North Clay Middle School and Clay City Jr./Sr. High School would be renovated only, with North Clay's renovations already in process.

Northview High School would receive a 34,000 square foot addition that would include six to eight classrooms, including science labs.

The project also proposes replacing the bus garage and corporation's central office, as renovation was not deemed possible.

Every school would have a security vestibule installed to direct visitors into the administrative office of the building.

Plumbing, lighting, and mechanical updates are proposed for all schools, with roof repair or replacement suggested for most.

Damien Maggos from City Financial presented the options that were discussed for financing the project.

Three options were given, with bonds being issued in increments of five, two, or a one-time issue.

The first option, a five-time issue, would require $77.5 million dollars in bonds, $11.5 million dollars in interest, and a repayment time of 17 years.

The downside to this plan would mean almost a doubled debt service rate for the community's taxes.

The second option would split the bond issues into two, one being $26.5 million dollars and the second being $44.8 million dollars.

This option would take 23 years to repay the $71 million dollars in bonds and $24 million dollars in interest, but there would be no increase in tax on community.

The option that the board and its advisors selected as the most attractive would be a one-time issue of $53 million dollars.

The bond would take 23 years to repay, with $31.2 million dollars in interest. There would also be no increase in community taxes.

The estimates are made upon today's interest rate of 4.5 percent.

To end the presentation, Maggos described how the bond would be very attractive to sellers because the debt would be less than ten percent of available funds.

Also, the bond would receive the state's highest rating, AA, because the bond's yearly payments could be covered at least two times over by state aid.

Six members of the community made statements after the presentation.

Jeff Bell, Principal of Clay City Jr./Sr. High School spoke about the school facilities providing a sense of pride in the community.

He also said that the security of his students leads to a more conduce learning environment, which helps teachers and students achieve their goals.

Leo Southworth requested that the board only make renovations that are absolutely necessary.

"Please do the right thing the right way," said Southworth.

Marshall Nuckolls spoke on behalf of the Clay County Farm Bureau.

On Aug. 28, the Farm Bureau filled out surveys on the renovation project.

The result from the Bureau's survey was overwhelming disapproval for the project.

Of the 84 responses, 82 said they were not in favor of the project.

Jack Knust said, "We just need to do this the right way. We pay the school board -- they need to get a fund set up. We don't need to get bonds."

A consistent theme from the speakers was that the teachers contract needed to be completed before a building project began.

The last of the speakers was Jackson Township Elementary Principal Jeff Fritz.

Fritz detailed the results of the 2002 renovation project. He said that morale has improved, as well as the additional rooms available have been used for ISTEP testing.

"It's a very attractive, very usable school. It's nothing elaborate. We went without for so long," said Fritz, "It helps every part of our school: Instruction, public relations, and saftey."

After the input from the community, Tom Reberger gave an overview of the process of determining what needed to be done.

He said that the original list of renovations would have been $60 million. After discovering that anything over $53 million would increase taxes, cuts were made.

"We didn't say, 'how much can we spend without raising taxes,'" said Reberger.

He said it was about, "what we can get by with $53 million."

Barr thanked the participants and audience for coming, and gave a reminder for the next meeting.

The next special session of the school board is at 6:30 p.m. next Thursday at North Clay Middle School.

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Thank you to the citizens who spoke up at the Special Session and said that the teacher's contract should be settled first before the new building project is decided on.I also thank all the citizens who have rallied around the teachers in the last three weeks. We really need your help and support and we appreciate it!!

-- Posted by 5longyears on Fri, Sep 21, 2007, at 5:48 AM

I would like to remind all of the readers that the elected officials are the ones making the decisions here, make your voice heard!! Do you know that the major work done on the buses are taken to a dealership due to certification issues. And, how many of you have seen these same buses traveling at dangerously high rates of speed on the back roads (county roads)that are not maintained as well as the highways, lots of potholes and narrow roads with little or no shoulder. If the bus drivers had to pay for the upkeep and fuel used, I am sure they would drive them with a little more respect. Instead of driving them like they stole them, they should drive them like they own them! Do we really NEED a new garage and a new administrative office. Come on folks, this is your money!! Think hard and long.

-- Posted by Clay County Resident on Fri, Sep 21, 2007, at 1:46 PM

Hm-m-m-m-m....settle the bargaining issue and come to an agreement between the school board and the teachers??? What a novel idea! Then, why not take a "do a little at a time" approach rather than going hog-wild with the proposed renovation project? I simply do not understand why a county our size finds it necessary to operate and maintain seven elementary buildings. Enrollment is declining, so it seems to me that closing one or more elementary building along with redistricting, remodeling, and the possible construction of a new elementary might be a better approach. Clay City Elementary is the former high school, and the classrooms are tiny with limited storage space. Larger classrooms would be more beneficial than carpeting and paint. The bottom line is....settle with the teachers and then do some serious rethinking about how to best spend our tax money!

-- Posted by Bigpappy on Fri, Sep 21, 2007, at 10:14 PM

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