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Superintendent's Message 06/09/2014


August 21, 2014


This letter serves as our 3rd communication to inform you on the progress of the K-8 facilities initiative.  Since our last letter, the Board officially passed a resolution to have the levy supported by a combined income and property tax.  This issue will be placed on the November 2014 ballot. You will also find detailed financial information about the cost of the project and the cost to the individual district resident.  Lastly, we have provided a copy of the ballot language exactly as it will appear on the November 2014 ballot. Please take a few minutes to review the information below:

What is the cost of the project?

Liberty-Benton District:                                              $19,704,000   


Ohio Schools Commission co-funding:                       $12,821,500


Total project cost:                                                      $32,525,500


Liberty Benton’s share of the funding is comprised of standard building costs of $14,458,300 and essential LFI’s (locally funded initiatives) totaling $5,245,700.  Our LFI’s include needs that are specific to our district such as additional classroom space to meet curriculum, upgrades to flooring and roofing, a district bus garage and land acquisition.

You will note an increase in the total project cost from the last letter to this one.  The increase is due to a final estimate being provided by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission 3 days after our last letter.

The levy request will be a combined property and income tax:

·         Income tax:  0.25% income tax beginning January 1, 2015 for 23 years

Any and all funds collected from the .25% income tax will be deposited in a permanent improvement fund to be used for the purpose of permanent improvement, including debt payments.

·         Property tax:  5.0 mill, $13,500,000 property tax for 23 years, collection in calendar year 2015
Over time, if the valuation of the district increases the tax collection per homeowner will decrease.


How much will the new building cost me?


For property tax purposes, farmland devoted exclusively to commercial agriculture may be valued according to its current use rather than at its "highest and best" potential use. This provision of Ohio law is known as the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) program.


You can visit the auditor’s website to find your current appraised value of your property.





How much am I currently paying for the High School building?

The levy was originally passed in February 1994 for $8,200,000 at 7.6 mills.

·         Current mills collected = 3.42, which is lower than the original millage as the valuation of the District has increased over time

·         Last collection will be in 2019


What will the ballot question look like?



(A Majority Affirmative Vote is Necessary for Passage)


Shall the Liberty Benton Local School District be authorized to do both of the following:


(1)     Impose an annual income tax of one quarter of one percent (0.25%) on the school district income of individuals and estates, for 23 years, beginning January 1, 2015, for the purpose of general permanent improvements?

(2)     Issue bonds for the purpose of constructing, adding to, renovating, remodeling, furnishing, equipping and otherwise improving school district buildings and facilities and acquiring, clearing, improving and equipping their sites in the principal amount of $13,580,000, to be repaid annually over a maximum period of 23 years, and levy a property tax outside the ten-mill limitation, estimated by the county auditor to average over the bond repayment period 5.0 mills for each one dollar of tax valuation, which amounts to 50 cents for each $100 of tax valuation, to pay the annual debt charges on the bonds, and to pay debt charges on any notes issued in anticipation of those bonds?


What will be done with the old K-8 building?

If a new K-8 building is built the old K-8 building and associated land will be sold. We will be evaluating the various means and methods related to how the building could be divested and will settle on the option that creates the most value for the District.   Any proceeds from the sale of the property will be spent towards permanent improvements.


Yours in Education,


The Liberty Benton Board of Education Members,


Scott Rhodes, President; AJ Granger, Vice-President; Tom Miller; Dana Morgan; Vern Strong

Jim Kanable, Superintendent; Lisa Dobbins, Treasurer

July 11, 2014

L-B Community:
This letter serves as our second of many communications to update you on the progress made on the K-8 facilities initiative.  Per last month’s communication we established our forward direction as the following;
-          The District needs a new K-8 facility.
-          The District wants the facility to be located on one campus (at the current High School location).
-          The District should fund the initiative by the way of a combination of property and income tax.
-          The District should be on the ballot in November for public consideration.
Since our last letter, we have spent a good deal of time working with our current engineering and architecture consultants, Garmann Miller, to update our build versus renovate analysis. This analysis was last completed by the firm, The Buehrer Group, in support of decision to build during our past two bond issues.  Garmann Miller’s updated analysis validated the former Buehrer study revealing that the cost of renovation would be just over $19.3 million dollars (see attached schedule of costs).  A significant portion of this cost (over $8 million dollars) is to construct permanent space to replace the existing modular classrooms.   
The current estimate to build a new building by using the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission (OSFC) framework would be approximately $32,304,480. Our  local share would be $19,590,412.  Building new is nearly the same as the cost to renovate after the state share is calculated in. 
At a near even cost to the district, building new allows many goals to be accomplished including meeting or exceeding state minimum guidelines for classroom sizes with available storage and accessibility, new technology and design, sufficient support facilities including layout of restroom and kitchen facilities as well as lower maintenance costs due to new construction and materials.
So what has changed since our last ballot issue?
-          The state share of our project has moved from 45% to 47%. 
-          The cost of materials for building has increased by 2% per our building consultants
-          Bond prices have remained flat
-          New building cost is lower than the November  2013 request for $19,704,000
In June, the Board took action in its public meeting to “lock in” the State funding share mentioned above.  In the July meeting, the Board anticipates passing a resolution that will call for the levy to be supported by the combination of income tax and property tax as opposed to 100% property tax.   Specific details of the resolution will be part of the public agenda and minutes and also reviewed in our next August letter.  We appreciate everyone’s feedback and engagement in the process. 
Yours in Education,
The Liberty-Benton Board of Education Members,
Scott Rhodes, President; AJ Granger, Vice-President; Tom Miller; Dana Morgan; Vern Strong
Jim Kanable, Superintendent

 9, 2014


Dear L-B Community:


In a letter dated March 10, 2014, Liberty-Benton district residents were invited to participate in an open discussion regarding school district affairs.  We wish to thank everyone who participated in our recent small group coffee sessions and our state of the schools meeting. This process was very enlightening for us as a school community. Your time is valuable and we appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts and insights.


As a brief recap, we were able to meet with over 300 residents on key questions concerning our K-8 building needs. There were many opinions and insights shared with us and we appreciate and respect each and every one of these.  However, amongst those who participated, there was a strong majority consensus on four items:


·     The District needs a new K-8 facility.

·     The District wants the facility to be located on one campus (at the current High School location).

·     The District should fund the initiative by the way of a combination of property and income tax.

·     The District should be on the ballot in November for public consideration


In addition to the above, the community meetings revealed that there is a desire from our stakeholders to be better informed about the process and details of a building project as it progresses through time. To this end and as a starting point, we will provide you with this type of communication on a monthly basis as we embark on the process of addressing needs surrounding a K-8 building.  In this manner, we will all be working with the same information which will allow our community to move this process forward together.   


The first step the Board of Education will take towards advancing the participants’ indicated desire to build a new K-8 facility will be to pass a resolution that will allow the District to bring this issue to the November 2014 ballot. The Board of Education will meet on June 16th at 6:00 pm for its regular public meeting and this will be included on the agenda for Board action.     


We thank you again for investing your time in our schools and for our students.


Yours in Education,

The Liberty-Benton Board of Education Members,

Scott Rhodes, President

AJ Granger, Vice-President

Tom Miller

Dana Morgan

Vern Strong