Board Inks Deal with State for New Facilities

SOURCE: The Daily Jeffersonian
DATE: March 28, 2019
AUTHOR:  John Lowe

BYESVILLE — The Rolling Hills Local Board of Education unanimously approved an agreement Tuesday between the district and the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission that, with one stipulation, will help fund construction of new facilities.

That stipulation is that the district is not committed to move forward with construction if the Guernsey Power Station is not built.

Developers of the proposed power station have pledged to donate $42 million to the district over a period of 30 years. That money would be the district’s match to OFCC funds from the state.

But that donation is contingent upon the power station being constructed. Should the power plant project fall through, the district would not be obligated to proceed with school facilities construction.

“Everything is contingent on the [real estate] closing of the power plant and getting their financing because, without the power plant, these facilities are not an option,” Superintendent Ryan Caldwell said.

“So, even though we’re approving this, we’re approving it to get on the OFCC [list] so we get the matching funds from them.

“If the power plant, for some reason, would not happen, then the facilities would not happen. This does not tie us into anything.”

Caldwell said that, in the interval of the negotiations that the power plant developers are engaged in, there has not been much discussion about the proposed, new school facilities.

“There is nothing to discuss at this point,” he said.

Although developers had anticipated last year that the closing would be in March, it now appears that it will be in late May at the earliest, but more likely in June.

After the the closing, the district will have to go to bond and secure the money before beginning to work with architects.

“We will be having community meetings once we know what’s going to happen,” board President Dennis Dettra said.

“We’re as impatient as anyone,” Caldwell said, “and we want to get the ball rolling. But, unfortunately, our hands are tied.

“But at the end of the day, it’s going to be an unbelievable experience and the best for our students.”

Among other action, the board:

  • Expressed their pride in the accomplishments of the Meadowbrook boys basketball team which made it to the final four teams of the state championship tournament.

Dettra, on behalf of the board and administration, presented a plaque of recognition for the team to Coach Lou Tolzda.

  • Approved purchase orders of $6,725.05 to the East Guernsey Local School District; $3,052, Ohio DECA Inc.; $15,490, Rocker Fruit Co.; $5,160, Sarris Candies Inc.; $78,395.05, American Express; and $8,696.50, OHM Advisors.
  • Approved the transfers of money from the general fund to the band support fund in the amount of $2,500 and to the athletic support fund in the amount of $50,000.
  • Employed, for the remainder of the school year, Tyler Engle as an intervention specialist and Crystal Michael as a bus driver.
  • Extended maternity leave for Rachel Brokaw.
  • Approved the school calendar for the next two school years.
  • Accepted the resignation of Emily Simmons, effective Aug. 1.
  • Accepted the retirement of Sheila Launder, effective Oct. 8 pending calamity days.
  • Approved Linda and James Gothard as volunteers at Brook Intermediate School.
  • Accepted an anonymous $25 donation for the Brook Jump Rope Team.

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