October 31, 2022
By Rachel Scofield
If voters approve the school bond issue on November 8, the Pickerington Local School District (PLSD) will be eligible for an additional $75 million in state funds.
The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) grants money to school districts for building improvements based on need. To be eligible, a district must first pass a bond issue.
Voters are asked to approve a $89.93 million bond issue to build a new junior high and add classrooms to both high schools.
Crowding is a problem for the district. By 2025, half of the buildings in the district will have exceeded capacity. Pickerington Central has already exceeded the number of students it can safely house by nearly 300 students. See: Pickerington Considers Alternatives to Overcrowding
For the owner of a property appraised at $100,000 this equates to roughly $100.00 per year in property taxes.
If you search for your address on the Fairfield County Auditor’s website, it will calculate the amount of tax that each ballot issues would add. See: Website Calculates Property Taxes
According to the district website, “there is no promise from the state that the dollars will be available beyond this November and into the future which means the Pickerington community could forfeit the dollars.”
If awarded, PLSD intends to address needs at Tussing Elementary, Harmon and Diley middle schools, Lakeview Junior High and Pickerington North.
“I’ll say this as many times as I can,” former Treasurer Ryan Jenkins said, “if we pass the bond issue and we have a project with the OFCC, we will have future funding and not just a little bit. If we would have passed a bond issue in May of 2021, we would have had a contribution of $53 million from the OFCC for future projects.”
Pickerington schools has received this funding in the past. After voters approved a 2006 bond issue to construct Sycamore Creek Elementary, Toll Gate Elementary and Toll Gate Middle School, the OFCC granted PLSD about $52 million in additional funds which the district used to update Central High School, Ridgeview Junior High, and three elementary schools (Fairfield, Pickerington and Violet).
The state funds may not be used for athletic fields or land acquisitions.
Of the three existing bond debts, Jenkins calculated they will all be paid by 2034. The bond that financed the construction of Diley and Harmon Middle Schools will be paid off (assuming no refunding) by December of 2025. For Pickerington North and Lakeview Junior High, the balance will be paid off (assuming no refunding) by December of 2026. At Toll Gate Elementary, Toll Gate Middle School, and Sycamore Creek Elementary, the debt will be paid off (assuming no refunding) by December 2034.