BY JORDAN COHEN
VIENNA —Mathews Board of Education, meeting in special session Monday, gave first reading to a resolution placing a $22.5 million bond issue on the November ballot that would fund the construction of a new school to house kindergarten through 12th grade. The new building would replace the district’s four current buildings, including Mathews High School.
At the same time, the board received some good news from the Ohio School Facilities Commission, which awarded more than $3.23 million in interest-free bonds as part of the project. That decision may lower the levy required to finance the bond issue, currently estimated at 8.2 mills.
“This could definitely have an impact on our millage,” said board member Roy Pratt. “It could drop us below eight mills.”
The board expects certification from the auditor before the end of this week and will conduct a second and final reading Aug. 13 that will contain the actual millage.
Mathews is one of 38 Ohio school districts that received approval of interest-free bonds from the OSFC. The bonds will have to be paid off in 14 years, but the balance of the $22.5 million will be paid for 37 years at an interest rate currently estimated at 5.25 percent, according to the board’s resolution.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to pay a lower rate than that,” Pratt said.
There could even be additional funding for the school district if Mathews voters approve the levy and other Ohio school voters reject their issues. Superintendent Lee Seiple said the funds would then be reallocated, and Mathews could receive more interest-free bonds.
“This is the result of federal stimulus money to the states that we are getting through the commission,” Seiple said. The superintendent said the shorter payment period for the interest-free bonds would not be a problem for the district.
Should voters approve, the new school would be built on the site of Baker Elementary School. Baker, Currie and Neal Elementary schools and Mathews would be demolished. Seiple said earlier that the new building should be completed by 2013.