At the Board meeting of the Lakewood Local Schools on Wednesday evening, September 13, 2017, the Board heard recommendations from the Elementary Planning Team and the Finance Task Force regarding the proposed new school facilities and their associated cost. The Elementary Planning Team concluded that the District should invest in projects that included both elementary and non-elementary school facilities for a total investment of $41,557,650.
The Finance Task Force concluded that after a District contribution of $7,900,000 of available funds, a bond issue of $34,100,000 would need to be approved by the voters to fund the projects. David Conley of Rockmill Financial Consulting, LLC the District’s municipal advisor, calculated that the bond issue would cost the owner of an $150,000 home, $18.60 per month for 28 years. The home value used in his estimate is the approximate median home value for Lakewood residents as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.
During the meeting, a question was asked regarding how much the non-elementary school facilities projects added to the total cost, and to the monthly cost of a resident if the bond issue would pass.
According to the architect firm assisting the Elementary Planning Team, LegatKingscott, the cost of the improvements to the Middle School, High School, Bus Garage, and Maintenance Building totals $9,233,864. The cost of this portion of the bond issue represents 1.15 mills of the total 4.25 mills required for the entire project. In dollars, that’s an addition cost of $5.04 per month. If the Board removed the non-elementary projects from the bond issue, the total millage would be 3.10 mills or about $13.56 per month vs. the $18.60 per month for the entire project.
Another question asked was why the board did not include the cost of the MS and HS renovations in with the funding for the stadium, instead of adding it to the elementary costs.
The project costs identified, of approximately $9 million would have been more expensive than the District’s direct ability to finance through COPs (Certificates of Participation) and more than the general fund could afford to repay over a shorter period of time (the stadium funding will be repaid over a 10 year period, whereas a bond issue is generally repaid over a longer time period in the range of 28 - 37 years).