Buckeye Valley buildings near completion

By D. Anthony Botkin - [email protected]

As Buckeye Valley Superintendent Andrew Miller walked up the steps at Buckeye Valley West Elementary School in Ostrander on Wednesday evening, he said, “This will be the last time a board of education meeting is held in this building.”

During the board meeting, Miller told the Buckeye Valley BOE that the new buildings are “progressing,” and “everything is now under the roof.”

“Every time I swing by, it’s amazing how much they get done in a week or every few days,” he said. “We’ve shared potential moving details with the BV West staff. As of now, the plan is to move items to (the new) BV West (school) just before winter break. Then from there, when the kids come back from winter break, they will start school (in the new building).”

Miller said it would be the end of January or the beginning of February before the BV East staff and students would occupy the rest of their new building.

“Those are tentative dates,” he said.

Voters approved a $31.25 million bond issue in November 2015 to fund the construction of the new elementary schools in Ashley and Bellpoint.

The projected cost for BV East in Ashley is $11.6 million. It will serve 475 students. The projected cost for the BV West being built near Bellpoint is $13.6 million. It’s designed to serve 625 students.

Miller reported on the district’s State of the Schools Address that was held on Facebook Live Tuesday. He told the board that 240 people tuned into the live broadcast, but since then there have now been over 1,000 views.

“We think that continues to be a good communication tool,” he said. “When we have a community meeting, on a good night we might get 25 people to show up, but to have 1,000 people check out our message is a really good thing.”

Miller added the next address might be when the district has access to the new BV West building, and he can do a tour through the building as a “sneak preview.”

“We’re looking to that sometime in December,” he said.

After Miller’s report, the board moved to the district’s five-year financial forecast.

Treasurer Kelly Ziegler told the board that the forecast is required by the Ohio Department of Education’s finance division twice each year.

“For fiscal year 2018, which we finished in June, our revenue outpaced our expenditures by $1,866,011,” she said. “We are not deficit spending in 2019.”

Ziegler said the positive fund balance for the district extends out to the 2023 fiscal year.

“Our biggest revenue we collect is the local taxes,” she said. “Delaware County’s reappraisal year was in 2017. The property values increased over 2014 reappraisal year for residential, and CAUV (Current Agricultural Use Value) went down about 20 percent.”

Ziegler added she doesn’t ever see Delaware County losing money, because “it’s a growing district in terms of property values.”

“They weren’t 1 or 2 percent increases,” she said. “Residential went up 10 percent across the county level, and CAUV values went down 20 percent.”

Ziegler said the income tax is growing at an average between 3.5 to 4.5 percent.

“It’s stabilizing from the economy stabilizing,” she said.

Ziegler said the district is still receiving funding from the State of Ohio for now.

“Once, after the election hits, we’re going to start to get into the discussion of how they’re going to fund schools,” she said. “The formula is going to go through a million scenarios like it always does. People, treasurers, and superintendents are going to freak, and at the end of the day, it’s going to stay the same.”

Ziegler moved into expenditures.

“Our biggest expense is our people,” she said. “We like it that way.”

Ziegler said the second biggest is the health benefits for the employees. She said the health benefit consortium held a premium free holiday that saved the district $1 million.

“The district saved the money, and it was great because one of the bylaws of the consortium is if the district doesn’t pay the employees don’t pay as well,” she said. “If the employee is on the family coverage, they saved almost $900 this year.”

Ziegler added another large expenditure is diesel fuel for the buses. She said the district purchased 85,000 gallons last year.

“I know that I’ve been telling you guys for the last couple of years we’ve been lucky that it’s been (priced) low, but for 2018, there is a projected 40 percent increase over last year,” she said. “I knew it was coming. It was just hard to swallow (when it got here).”


By D. Anthony Botkin

[email protected]

Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.

Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.