Growing enrollment could force the Olentangy Local School District to place a bond issue on the ballot as early as next March.
During a facilities discussion, three timelines were presented by school board member Dave King at a work session Thursday. The timelines had different election dates: March 15, 2016; Nov. 8, 2016; and May 10, 2017.
The timelines were estimated in anticipation of a recommendation by the district’s facilities committee on how to address the growing enrollment.
Currently, 5,578 students are enrolled at the district’s three high schools. A 10-year enrollment projection by the committee said there will be more than 2,000 students in each school in the 2017-18 school year; and all three will have more than 2,200 students in 2019-20.
The 2,200 total is considered the maximum number of students the committee feels each high school can accommodate.
Earlier this year, the committee ruled out 12 possible options to solve the high school overpopulation, including doing nothing; using the Delaware Area Career Center North Campus; converting the district’s central office into classrooms; and re-configuring grades.
That left three options, outlined at the board’s recent retreat.
The first option would be to lease another building similar to Olentangy Academy; or build a new middle school. The committee estimated Option A would cost $65.8 million. Board members noted that although the Academy is being used, the students also like their home high school.
The second option would be to expand each high school with the same free-standing building that could accommodate 700 students; or to make the expansions according to each school’s design, like adding a wing. Option B would cost $53.5 million.
The third option would be to build a new high school and redistrict the four schools so they have an equal number of students. District officials said they own land along Berlin Station Road that could be the site for a fourth high school. A 2014 survey indicated 48 percent of parents support having a fourth high school. Option C would cost $68.5 million.
Superintendent Mark Raiff said he would hold at least 20 “coffee chats” with the public between now and November. During the chats, he will get feedback on what option the public prefers.
In order to be on the spring primary ballot, the committee would need to make a recommendation, millage would need to be determined, and the board would have to approve putting the issue before voters at its Nov. 12 meeting.
According to the committee, the earliest any of the options could be completed would be the 2018-19 school year.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.
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