Property owners in the Jonathan Alder Local School District can expect slightly lower taxes in coming years.
The district expects to save more than $2 million over the next 15 years by refinancing bonds issued to improve existing facilities and construct the new high school and Plain City Elementary. The bonds were originally issued in 2002 and refinanced in 2006. Ohio School Facilities money also contributed to construction projects.
Treasurer Aaron Johnson told board of education members on Monday a favorable municipal bond market prompted district officials to refinance $8,780,000 that remains on the debt at 2.31 percent interest. Previous interest was more than 4 percent.
“This translates into an annual gross savings of approximately $138,147 for the next 15 years,” an Alder press release said. “The … savings directly passes through to district taxpayers…”
Also on Monday, Superintendent Gary Chapman announced total student enrollment in the district by early September was 2,242. Average class size ranged from 14 in the half-day pre-kindergarten to 28 in eighth grade. He did not provide high school numbers.
Chapman also cautioned board members to expect lower grades for the district on this year’s state report card. The Ohio Department of Education will issue report cards for all Ohio school districts in coming days.
Alder traditionally scores high on the annual assessments. But a change in standard testing procedures and raising statewide benchmarks will likely lower this year’s grades.
“We’ll have not as favorable results,” Chapman predicted.
Board member Steve Votaw asked if Chapman and other superintendents are working to set their own benchmarks. Curriculum director Misty Swanger said superintendents from surrounding counties assemble regularly to analyze report card data and apply it to individual district needs.
In other meeting action on Monday, board members:
• Accepted a $10,000 donation from JA Athletic Boosters to resurface the track.
• Accepted a $400 grant for Monroe Elementary to install carpet in the Fun With Phonics classroom.
• Approved a contract with the Madison County-London City Health District for a school nurse to work 27 hours per week.
• Agreed to purchase 19,000 gallons of propane from Lykins Energy Solutions for 79 cents per gallon.
Jane Beathard is a contributing writer for The Advocate.