It is decision time for the Clay Community Schools School Board.
The board held a work session Wednesday night at North Clay Middle School to discuss and review several different options for a renovation plan for the corporation facilities.
Tom Neff of Schmidt Associates reviewed a phased proposal that was asked for by the board after community concerns over a larger proposal.
Neff presented a cost breakdown for all seven elementary schools and the security plans for 10 school buildings.
The proposal broke construction and bonding into two phases, the first a $19 million project to work on Eastside, Meridian, Forest Park and Staunton Elementary Schools and upgrade all of the schools' security.
The second phase would consist of renovations to Van Buren, Jackson Township and Clay City Elementary Schools, and would cost $8.6 million when inflation is taken into consideration.
Damien Maggos of City Financial gave the board several choices for financing such a project, in comparison to a full renovation project and a three-phase project.
A corporation-wide renovation project, which was initially presented, would need $53 million in bonds and would take 20 years to pay off. $83,135,000 would be the total amount paid, including interest.
A three-phase project, with improvements to the two high schools, North Clay Middle School and the administrative and transportation buildings in the third phase, would cost $70.7 million in bonds and take 21 years to pay off. The corporation would pay almost $88 million back, when interest and inflation are taken into account.
If a two-phase project is bonded together, $26 million will be bonded for and paid over eight and a half years, with a total repayment of $31 million dollars.
If the two phases are bonded separately, $28 million would need to be bonded for the same amount of time, and $31.5 million dollars would be paid in the end.
Part of the discussion about how to finance a project is new legislation going into effect stating all school projects would need to be passed by a county tax board.
If phase one is bonded in 2008, but not phase two or even a phase three, the county tax board would need to approve phases two and three.
It is possible the remaining phases of the project would not get approval.
The board discussed the project options, and the importance of cost, flexibility, timing and community approval to their decision.
Board President Terry Barr asked the board members for their thoughts on where the project should go.
Board members Ted Jackson, Steve Grigsby, Brian Atkinson and Len Fischer voiced favor for the two-phase project, indicating they would like to ensure some renovation be done rather than risk community action against a larger project.
Jim Guy asserted he is for the entire project and cannot understand how people would trade flexibility for a higher project cost. Guy said he would support whatever the board decided.
Barr and Dottie King expressed disappointment with the willingness to approve a smaller project because of pressure, and reiterated their support for doing a full project.
The board will have 12 days to mull over the information presented, and will reconvene Jan. 28, at 6 p.m., in North Clay to select and approve a proposal to be given at a 10-28 public hearing.
Currently, the 10-28 hearing, a state-mandated meeting needed to move forward with a building project, is scheduled for Feb. 18, at 6 p.m., in North Clay.