Herald News Report
FAIRBORN – The Fairborn City School District is asking for community input during its process to renovate or reconstruct new educational facilities. Two of four community forums have taken place thus far; at the end of each forum, attendees are given the opportunity to ask district leaders questions about the process.
Questions and answers from the second community forum are as follows:
Q: If the repair/replacement project cannot or does not move forward, is there a plan for any of the current buildings?
A: Currently, all repairs for buildings in the district come from the general fund. There is not a permanent improvement levy for building repairs.
Q: How long could the building or renovation take? If it takes longer than a summer where will our kids go to school until completed?
A: The process is at the very beginning stages and the emergency operating levy renewal will have to be passed in March of 2016. If the renewal passes, the district will have the bond issue on the ballot in November 2016. The process, if the renewal passes and the bond issue passes, will take up to five years.
Q: What if the levy does not pass?
A: The emergency operating levy renewal (no new tax) will have to pass in March 2016 to move forward with the building process (bond issue). If the emergency operating levy passes in March 2016, the district will put the bond issue on the ballot in November 2016. If the bond issue does not pass in November 2016, the district will have another opportunity to pass the bond issue, for new and/or renovated buildings, in May 2017.
Q: If we rebuild, what happens to old buildings and land?
A: The district is in discussions with the city and township [regarding] land and repurposing of buildings. At this time, a decision has not been made about the land or where buildings will be. As the process continues to unfold, the community advisory committee along with district leadership will discuss options and continue to communicate with Fairborn residents.
Q: How does Fairborn compare with other districts regarding percentage of state share (percentage that state will pay)?
A: Beavercreek: no share from state/completely funded with bond issue; Springboro: no share from state/completely funded with bond issue; Tecumseh: 77 percent state share; Mad River: 80 percent state share; Xenia: 46 percent state share; Huber Heights: 52 percent state share; Trotwood: 66 percent state share. Fairborn has a 45 percent state share.
Q: Will all facilities be addressed?
A: Yes, all facilities will be addressed and information provided from the Ohio School Facilities Commission about the cost to renovate vs. the cost of building new and what the current conditions are of our buildings.
Q: Will the OSFC program affect Fairborn community eligibility program option? (no cost/breakfast program K-5).
A: The OSFC program will not affect the Fairborn community eligibility program. The CEP is based on the demographics of the Fairborn City School district.
Q: Has every other eligible district taken advantage of co-funding?
A: Not ever district who is eligible has taken advantage of co-funding. Some districts have built new schools without the co-funding from the state.
Q: Have other districts remodeled or replaced with the money?
A: Other districts have remodeled and replaced with the money from the state. Each community is different and the needs and levels of support are different.
Q: Is this a “now or never” prospect?
A: At this time, Fairborn will receive 46 percent of the funding from the state. This window of opportunity will provide us with two chances to pass a bond issue. If the community does not take advantage of this opportunity, the community would pay 100 percent of new building costs.
Q: While I support the building of schools, I’d like to see it funded in some other way than property taxes. How about an additional income tax like we did for our firehouses? What will become of the land?
A: First, the only way that the state of Ohio allows new buildings to be funded is by passing a bond issue. The revenue generated from income tax would not cover the cost of building/or renovating. Second, the options for building location and repurposing of current building sites is in discussion at this time and no decisions have been made. The discussion is including repurposing of old building sites and what will be the best educational structure looking forward to the future of education.
Q: Will facilities be built at new sites or old buildings removed and replaced?
A: The community advisory committee will be working with the district and the educational visioning committee to decide what will be the best structure/site for buildings. Additionally, the city, township and other interested community partners are working with the district on the land issue and what will be best for building.
Q: If the levy is approved to move forward with the project, will the grade level structure remain the same as it is today?
A: The educational visioning committee, comprised of teachers and the director of curriculum/instruction, are working together to look at grade level structures to decide what will provide the best possible environment for student learning and achievement as well as creating a smaller structure for elementary. An example: K-1, 2-3, 4-5, and then middle/high school.
Q: Will the buildings be multi-use facilities?
A: The district is inviting community entities (Fairborn YMCA etc.) to community forums to discuss a variety of possibilities.
Q: Will the bond issue cover the cost for unfunded sports facilities?
A: The bond issue does not cover the cost for a football stadium. The bond issue will help pay for gymnasiums. A bond issue for a football stadium, for example, would require additional millage or partnership with an outside entity.
Q: What are the proposed new building site locations?
A: Currently, the district has met with city officials, township officials to look at land possibilities. No decisions have been made about new site locations.
Q: What percentage of the construction will use green technologies?
A: The new construction will be LEED certified, meaning green technologies will be used in the building process.
Q: What is the lifespan of new buildings with routine maintenance?
A: Approximately 50 years with regular maintenance
Q: Will local companies participate in the construction of new buildings?
A: Yes, local companies will be welcome to participate in open bidding process for the construction of new buildings.
Q: With all the glass in the proposed new buildings, what is the plan for safety and security with all the school shootings?
A: Safety and security is a primary focus in construction of new buildings. Entrance areas and buzzer systems will be an integral part of the design process and at the forefront of planning.
Q: Will actual “teaching” teachers be used to help with building design specifics?
A: Yes, teachers will be part of the design process.
Q: How will the results of the assessment be shared with all the citizens of Fairborn City Schools?
A: All updates will be posted on the FCS website under “facilities” on the homepage. Additionally, information will be provided to this newspaper, social media outlets and other news agencies.
Q: Does the district have money earmarked or a special account for new facilities?
A: No, the district does not have money earmarked for new facilities.
Q: What is your hope for students and the district when this process is complete when the buildings are renovated or constructed?
A: The hope for students and the district/Fairborn community is that we have safe and well-planned buildings that will provide the most optimal learning environment for our students. It is the hope that with proper planning and support, the district and buildings will become the center of the community and help with community development and in our ability to attract more housing development and families. School and community pride are often part of the conversation when talking about new/renovated buildings.
The next community forum will take place Nov. 19 at Fairborn Intermediate School; the final community forum will be held Jan. 21 at Fairborn High School.
Herald News Report compiled by Whitney Vickers.