Herald News Report
FAIRBORN – The Fairborn City School district is hosting a series of community forums regarding the construction or renovation of new educational facilities. Two of four forums have taken place thus far. Participants are given the opportunity to ask district leaders questions about the process after the information is presented.
The following are questions received from the first forum:
Q: If OSFC (Ohio School Facilities Commission) determines that new buildings should be built, where would be the building sites be located and how would the land be purchased?
A: OSFC will give recommendations about the renovation vs. re-building in late September/early October. This information will be provided at a community forum. At this time, no decision has been made concerning building sites or land purchases. However, any land purchases would have to come from the funds provided by the state and from dollars generated by a local bond issue.
Q: What is the cost for new buildings?
A: Currently the cost share will be 54 percent Fairborn City Schools (local share through property tax) /46 percent State of Ohio for instructional facilities. The 54 percent share and any additional costs not co-funded by OSFC (for example-land) would need to be approved by a bond issue. Approximate costs for new buildings/and/or renovations will be provided by the OSFC.
Q: What is Fairborn City Schools’ current relationship with SHP Leading Design (Steed Hammond Paul) and other contractors?
A: Fairborn City Schools has contracted with SHP for other projects the last few years and shares a positive working relationship with them. The Board of Education approved a consulting agreement with them for the initial planning of the Ohio School Facilities Commission program. The master plan, if accepted by OSFC in April 2016, and if the bond issue passes in November 2016, the architect for the design phase will be chosen through an open bid process.
Q: What is and isn’t included in a new building project?
A: Included: school buildings with gyms, parking and drives, on-site utilities, soccer, football and softball PE fields only, technology infrastructure, casework, basic finishes, furniture, CM & A/E fees. Not included: Auditoriums (Fixed Seating Portions), terrazzo flooring, running tracks, tennis courts, exterior bleachers, Board/Maintenance/Transportation buildings, exterior concession stands/RR’s, off-site utility lines, computers, property purchase, legal costs.
Q: Do new building projects address specific curricular areas such as STEM, student performance and special needs?
A: Yes — all of these concerns are addressed as part of the planning process, which includes an “educational visioning” team to plan classrooms and educational facilities which meet the needs of 21st century education and beyond.
Q: Grade specific buildings vs. neighborhood buildings?
A: This discussion will be addressed through focus groups and committees with community input.
Q: Has a building fund been started?
Q: Rebuild or Renovate? Considered or not considered?
A: OSFC will give recommendations about the renovation vs. re-building in late September/early October. This information will be provided at a community forum. At this time, no decision has been made concerning building sites or land purchases, to renovate, remodel or a combination thereof.
Q: Can the district partner with other entities such as the YMCA, hospitals, Senior Center?
A: Yes, these decisions will be made utilizing focus group input, committee input and discussions with key community stakeholders such as the city, township, Senior Center and more.
Q: What is the Building Timeline?
A: If OSFC approves the master plan in April 2016, and if the district is able to pass a bond issue in November 2016, the OSFC will implement a timeline for our district. Typically the building process takes three to five years.
Q: Future enrollment? How do we know what the future enrollment will be?
A: OSFC will contract with a company to project enrollment for Fairborn City Schools. Project enrollment will be factored into any decisions made.
Q: Current building issues — how is the district taking care of current building maintenance issues?
A: With older buildings, the district has many maintenance issues which are currently being paid for out of the district General Fund.
Q: What information and/or help does the district need from the community?
A: Focus group and committee participation is a great way to be involved. Information will be posted on the FCS website and on social media. Interested parties can contact the Board of Education at (937) 878-3961.
Q: What does the bond issue pay for?
A: The bond issue would pay for Fairborn City Schools’ 54 percent share and any additional locally funded initiatives of instructional facilities.
Q: Will our property taxes increase or decrease?
A: Increase — the bond issue would be the 54 percent share and any additional locally funded initiatives and would increase property taxes. Property taxes would increase if facility improvement funding is approved by the voters. The final scope and cost of any improvement won’t be known until the OSFC develops master facility plan options and the Fairborn community and school district identifies preferences and finalizes the facility plan.
Q: Will there be utility savings with new buildings?
A: Currently, the district is involved with numerous cost-saving energy programs. New buildings, by design, will be more energy efficient.
Q: What is the role of the current school board, new school board and interim superintendent in the building process?
A: The current board has initiated the OSFC process. Elections will be held in November and any new board members will be sworn in in January. The board will continue the process. The interim superintendent and new school board members will continue the process. The interim superintendent is contracted through July 31, 2016. The board will conduct the search for the permanent superintendent starting in November.
Q: In the past, there have been trust and communication issues with the Fairborn City Schools Board of Education — how will these issues be addressed?
A: The current school board is committed to a transparent building process. Information about the facility improvement process will be provided to the community as the district receives more information. The district is proactively seeking community input through community forums, committees and focus groups.
Questions and answers from the second community forum will follow in the next edition of this newspaper.