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Information from May 2019 Bond Issue.

Note: The Bond issue on the May 7, 2019 ballot did not pass. The district is leaving these FAQs on the website because they contain information still relevant to the state of our facilities. The Board is listening to feedback from the community to look at a new plan to place on the ballot at a future date still to be determined. 

What is a bond issue?

A bond issue is used to provide local revenue for construction purposes. By law, bond dollars can be used only for capital costs -- building construction and/or renovations, and major equipment purchases. It cannot be used for salaries or any operational expenses.

What is the difference between a bond issue and an operating levy?

Bond issues raise money that, by law, can ONLY be used for capital improvements (bricks and mortar). Operating levies generate money for a district’s day-to-day operating costs, such as salaries, benefits, and utilities.

What construction projects were covered by the May 2019 Bond issue?

  • Build a new middle school (grades 6-8) to replace the obsolete Milford Junior High School.
    • Due to the manner in which the building was constructed, it is no longer economically feasible to maintain the junior high and even more expensive to renovate than to build new.         
    • Our junior high school was built in 1962 and is both undersized and outdated. The building was intended for 750 students. With a current enrollment of 1,050 junior high students, the building is overcrowded with students and teachers in modular units and spaces not intended to be used as classrooms.
    • The junior high school has outdated plumbing, ventilation, and electrical systems, which are costly to maintain and cannot accommodate today’s technology and educational needs
    • Almost 20 years ago, the state analyzed the cost of renovating versus replacing the junior high and recommended replacing the building.

  • Build a new 1,000 seat auditorium shared by Milford Junior High School and Milford High School to accommodate student performances and school programs.
    • The current high school auditorium seats 390, which prevents even one grade level (500+ students) at Milford High School from attending a program or holding a class meeting. The new auditorium will connect the high school and new middle school, serving more than 3,500 students.
    • Currently, band and music programs are held in the gymnasium which has poor acoustics and inadequate seating. A larger auditorium will accommodate performances by our exemplary drama, vocal, and instrumental music programs.
  • Convert current Milford High School auditorium to new learning commons/media center to better meet the educational needs of our students.

  • Renovate classrooms within the high school. While the main public portions of the high school were renovated in 2009, more than 60% of the building has not been updated in decades.

  • Replace the high school HVAC/air handling system. Some of the HVAC equipment needing to be replaced is original to the building (built in 1965) and other portions were installed in 1990. A new system will more efficient and cost-effective.

  • Install new roof on a portion of Milford High School. The portion of the roof that needs to be replaced was installed in 1990.

  • Upgrade Milford High School gymnasium bleachers and floors last updated in 1990, which are at the end of their life cycle.

  • Replace outdated athletic facilities.

    • For optimal parking and traffic flow, it appears the best location for the new middle school is on the practice fields situated next to the high school. The construction will impact the current wrestling facility (Robbins Building), weight room, locker rooms, and restrooms already in poor condition and in need of replacement

    • Upgrade and complete stadium renovation including new bleachers on the visitor’s side and new concession stand and restrooms.

  • The stadium lights and light poles are nearing the end of their life cycle and need to be replaced. The current visitor stands are 30 years old and need to be replaced for safety issues. The new stands will be ADA compliant and will expand the seating to meet increasing capacity needs.

Explanation of bond, operating, and history of levies

What is a bond issue?

A bond issue is used to provide local revenue for construction purposes. By law, bond dollars can be used only for capital costs -- building construction and/or renovations, and major equipment purchases. It cannot be used for salaries or any operational expenses.

What is the difference between a bond issue and an operating levy?

Bond issues raise money that, by law, can ONLY be used for capital improvements (bricks and mortar). Operating levies generate money for a district’s day-to-day operating costs, such as salaries, benefits, and utilities.

What will the bond cost?

The 4.7 mill Bond Issue will generate approximately $97,790,000 for Milford Schools to be repaid annually over a maximum period of 37 years.  

A home is taxed on its assessed value, not its market value. The assessed value is 35% of its market value. So, a home that has a market value of $100K is taxed at $35K.  (35,000 X .0047 = $164.50).

To see the exact amount of annual taxes you will pay, go to https://www.clermontauditor.org

When was the last operating levy?

Milford School District’s last operating levy passed in 2013. At that time, the district promised to make the levy last three years. According to current financial projections, we anticipate the levy will last 10 years until 2023.

How is our community taxed compared to other districts?

Of the 32 school districts located in Clermont and Hamilton County, Milford is 15th in terms of effective millage rate. (Effective millage is the millage rate that is actually levied on property. Once a levy is voted in, a school district cannot collect any additional money due to valuation increases from reappraisal or triennial update on that levy. As property values increase, the millage rate on that voted levy is decreased so that the levy generates the same amount of money).

Below Average Expenditures

  • Milford Total Expenditure Per Pupil: $10,530.01
  • State Average: $11,953.14
  • Similar District Average: $11,179.89

Above Average Achievement

  • There are 612 public school districts in Ohio
  • Milford Exempted Village School District is the 40th largest district with 6,690 students
  • Out of 890 public high schools, Milford High School is ranked 27th based on graduation rate, performance on state tests, and college readiness. (Source: U.S. News & World Report)

Does the school receive money from the lottery, how much?

The District does not receive money directly from the lottery.  A portion of lottery proceeds are allocated to fund Ohio schools through the overall State funding program. The State of Ohio’s budget for primary and secondary education for Fiscal Year 2019 is $10.59 billion, of which $1.1 billion comes from the lottery.

The District does receive direct funding from the casinos, which amounted to $352,685 this fiscal year.  

 

conceptual plan may 2019 bond issue

Overview/Conceptual Plan

Milford School District had a bond issue on the May 7, 2019 ballot to build a middle school (grades 6-8) to replace the current Milford Junior High (grades 7-8); add a new 1,000 seat auditorium to be shared by the new middle school and high school; replace the HVAC and sections of the roof at the high school; provide new learning spaces in the unrenovated portions of the high school; replace several athletic facilities that are in poor condition; and complete the stadium renovation. The Bond Issue failed. 

The exact location of the proposed middle school will be identified once the design process begins and engineering studies occur, but it is anticipated that the new building will be located at the west end of the current practice fields located next to the stadium. A part of the building program will be adjusting Eagles Way to allow for improved traffic, site circulation, and parking. See rendering below.

What construction projects are covered by this bond issue?

Build a new middle school (grades 6-8) to replace the obsolete Milford Junior High School.

  • Due to the manner in which the building was constructed, it is no longer economically feasible to maintain the junior high and even more expensive to renovate than to build new.

  • Our junior high school was built in 1962 and is both undersized and outdated. We have teachers and students in modular units.

  • During any one class bell, there are between 100 and 120 students and four teachers in the trailers.

Build a new 1,000 seat auditorium shared by Milford Junior High School and Milford High School to accommodate student performances and school programs.

  • The current high school auditorium seats 390, which prevents even one grade level (500+ students) at Milford High School from attending a program or holding a class meeting. The new auditorium will connect the high school and new middle school, serving more than 3,500 students.
  • Currently, band and music programs are held in the gymnasium which has poor acoustics and inadequate seating. A larger auditorium will accommodate performances by our exemplary drama, vocal, and instrumental music programs.
  • Convert current Milford High School auditorium to new learning commons/media center to better meet the educational needs of our students.

Renovation projects at Milford High School.

  • Renovate classrooms within the high school. While the main public portions of the high school were renovated in 2009, more than 60% of the building has not been updated in decades.
  • Replace high school HVAC/air handling system. Some of the HVAC equipment needing to be replaced is original to the building (built in 1965) and other portions were installed in 1990. A new system will be more efficient and cost-effective.
  • Install new roof on a portion of Milford High School. The portion of the roof that needs to be replaced was installed in 1990.
  • Upgrade Milford High School gymnasium bleachers and floors last updated in 1990, which are at the end of their life cycle.

Replace outdated athletic facilities.

  • The current wrestling facility (Robbins Building) and the weight room, locker rooms, and restrooms are at the end of their life cycle and need to be replaced
  • Upgrade and complete stadium renovation including new bleachers on the visitor’s side and new concession stand and restrooms.
  • The stadium lights and light poles are nearing their end of life and need to be replaced. The current visitor stands are 30 years old and need to be replaced for safety issues. The new stands will be ADA compliant and will expand the seating to meet increasing capacity needs.

 

MF Plans

How much of the bond will fund each part of the Master Facilities Plan?

Chart

Sources of Funding (Lottery, OFCC)

Why can’t the state help us fund our construction projects?

The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) will co-fund a portion of the cost of school construction for selected K-12 districts. While the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) was a partner in our elementary and high school construction projects, the State had informed the district that construction funds will not be available in the foreseeable future. With the condition of the current junior high school and the rising costs of construction, the Board decided we could no longer wait years for possible state assistance.  

OFCC History with Milford Schools

2000

  • District entered into the partnership with OFCC

    • OFCC assessed the district’s facilities.

    • OFCC and district agreed on a Master Facilities Plan that covered all needs of the district.

2001

  • The district then chose a portion of the Master Facilities Plan to fund through local efforts.

  • Passed a 4.10 mill bond issue for the four neighborhood elementary buildings (Mulberry, Meadowview, Pattison, and McCormick)

2007

  • Due to the lack of classroom space, more than 200 high school students were attending classes in modulars units. In spite of 4 lunch periods, students were forced to stand and sit on the floor during lunch because of insufficient space in the cafeteria.

  • Passed a 2.05 mill bond for Ninth Grade Community wing at Milford High School, cafeteria expansion, music classrooms, and office with secure entrance.

2013

  • District became eligible to participate in the state’s Classroom Facilities Assistance Program (CFAP). The money spent by the district in the former construction projects was credited against the local share of the Master Facilities Plan.

  • This state credit, along with an additional 8% from the district’s general fund, is how Charles L. Seipelt and Boyd E. Smith Elementary schools were built without a new bond issue.

2015

  • OFCC consultant met with district officials and shared there was the possibility of funding in 2016 for rest of Master Facilities Plan (replace MJHS, finish high school renovations, Milford Preschool).

2016

January

  • Milford Board passed a resolution to apply for active planning with OFCC for the remainder of the Master Facilities Plan.

September, October

  • District engaged the community in a visioning process for the completion of the master plan.

November

  • OFCC informs district that funding would not occur in 2016. Next possible date would be July 2017.

2017

March

  • OFCC informs district that funding will not occur in July 2017.

September

  • OFCC informs district that funding will not occur in 2018.

2018

April

  • OFCC informs the district that funding could occur in 2019.

August

  • OFCC informs district that only lapsed districts would receive funding in 2019. 2020 is a possibility “if there’s money around.”

September-December 2018

  • District meets with industry experts, conducts phone survey, considers the financial cost of waiting for possible funding, and weighs funding options.

What happened to the state money?

OFCC approved funding for many districts during the years 2006-2014. In order to receive these funds, school districts were required to pass a bond issue first to guarantee their local funding for a portion of the project. Many districts were unable to pass a bond issue due to the recession. Beginning in 2016, many of these “lapsed” districts started approving bond issues; therefore, they returned to the top of the list for OFCC funds.

OFCC was not prepared for the unprecedented number of bond issue approvals, and there are currently not enough funds to approve additional districts.

See the recent article from Ohio Association of Business Officials about the OFCC’s lack of funds:

https://oasbo-ohio.org/about/newsworthy/advocacy/march-19/sb-4#/

 

Why can’t Milford build a high school without a new bond issue like West Clermont did?

The construction of the new West Clermont High School was a collaborative agreement between the District and Union Township. The Township purchased the 100-acre Glen Este campus for the purpose of economic development. In exchange for selling the property, the Township agreed to cover upwards of 65% of the construction cost on the new high school. The Township was able to do this by placing a TIF (tax increment financing) on the property. The TIF uses the taxes received on any new development of the property and places it into a separate fund to be used on the construction of public infrastructure. The remaining 35% of the project cost was being paid for the by West Clermont School District using funds generated from their existing permanent improvement levy.  

This agreement was unique and not able to be duplicated in Milford. The district does not have 100 acres of land to sell nor do we have enough funds in our existing permanent funds to go towards a construction project of this magnitude.

What about funds from FC Cincinnati?

In 2018, FC Cincinnati major league soccer team began construction of a training facility on Route 50 within the boundaries of the school district. Under the terms of their agreement with the Port Authority and its non-profit status, FC Cincinnati is not required to pay the district any taxes.

In regard to tax dollars received on that property: in 2017, we received $38,201.67 from the two properties that will be the future site of the FC Cincinnati Training Facility (689 and 750 State Route 50). FC Cincinnati agreed to make the district whole and not lose these tax dollars. In good faith, FC Cincinnati has agreed to pay the district $50,000 annually and offer a series of programming for our students, visits to our schools from their coaching staff, and access to special events at their facility.

It is important to note that the purchase of the land in Milford for the FC Cincinnati training facility did not require the approval of the Milford Exempted Village School District Board of Education. In negotiating with FC Cincinnati, the Clermont County Commissioners wanted to make sure the school district was made whole and did not lose tax dollars.

 

General questions about project costs and potential savings

Why are the estimates released in 2016 to build a new junior high are so much lower than the 2019 estimate to building a middle school?

The two major reasons for the difference in costs: construction inflation averaging 5% annually and moving from a 135,000 square foot junior high for just grades 7-8  to a 200,000 square foot middle school for grades 6-8.

Why do you have to do this all at once?

There is a cost to place a bond issue on the ballot and running each issue separately would not be financially sound. Second, there is a cost-savings to bidding out multiple projects at one time. Third, the Master Facilities Plan was developed in 2000 and for safety reasons, the facilities needing to be replaced cannot continue to be delayed. Finally, construction costs continue to rise at a significant rate and will become more and more expensive as time passes.

How did you arrive at the cost estimate for the new middle school since the plan is not finalized?

The district worked with industry experts to come up the cost estimates.  These experts are both in the construction industry as well as in the architectural field. Experts from these industries compared similar schools built recently and factored in construction inflation.

What process controls are in place to ensure the new projects are adequate and cost-effective?

During the design and bidding processes, numerous estimates are completed and competitive bidding processes are used to make sure we design a building within budget and that we secure high-quality contractors at the best prices.

Does the bond levy reduce the operating costs due to lower operating costs for maintenance and by how much? Will this have a significant impact on operating costs?

We anticipate there will be maintenance savings as well as any savings from having one less building to maintain by selling the current preschool building. Although the new middle school will be larger than the current junior high school, we anticipate savings because of the improved energy efficiency measures.

Does the sale of the Milford Preschool building on Route 28 impact the bond levy and if not what happens to the funds?

The funds received from the sale of the preschool building would not affect the bond levy. Those funds are required to be receipted into the general operating fund. From there the expenditure of these funds are at the discretion of the Board of Education.

Timing

Why now?

Our junior high school was built in 1962 and is both undersized and outdated. We have teachers and students in modular units. The junior high school has outdated plumbing, ventilation, and electrical, which are costly to maintain and cannot accommodate today’s technology and educational needs. It is not prudent to continue to put costly repairs into a building that is obsolete. Almost 20 years ago, the state analyzed the cost of renovating versus replacing the junior high and recommended replacing the building.

While the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) was a partner in our elementary and high school construction projects, the State had informed the district that construction funds will not be available in the foreseeable future. With the condition of the current junior high school and the rising costs of construction, the Board decided we could no longer wait years for possible state assistance.  

Why is the bond issue on the May 2019 special election ballot instead of the November 2018 or November 2019 general election ballots?

In 2018, the district was still anticipating co-funding of the Master Facilities Plan by OFCC. In order to place a bond issue on the ballot in November 2018, the Board would have needed to approve all necessary resolutions by early July 2018.  Since we were not notified by OFCC that funding would not be available until August, the deadlines for the November election had already passed. The first opportunity to put the bond issue on the ballot was May 2019. The district chose to put the issue on in May because of the significant financial impact of construction inflation on the $98 million project.

Waiting until November 2019 will cost an additional $7.1 million in construction expenses – significantly more than the $58,500 to run the issue in May. This is due to two main factors. First, construction costs are increasing at 5% a year. Because of how the design process falls, we would lose a full year in construction timing if we wait until November. So by waiting six months, it will actually cost the district almost the same in inflation as waiting 12 months.

Second, new mandates are being implemented in July 2019, which will add greatly to the cost of the project. Any construction plan passed by the community prior to July 2019 is exempt from these new mandates. The district will be exempt if we pass the bond issue in May. If the bond fails in May 2019 and we have to run again in November 2019, the cost for these mandates must be added to the plan. See details below.

In 2017, the State of Ohio adopted the International Building Code Compliance tornado shelter requirements for public and private schools. This new requirement is an all-encompassing solution that creates a space for occupants that can withstand winds up to 250 mph. The physical space has enlarged foundations, walls, doors, windows, roofs and specialized HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems. These requirements have caused building and operational costs to increase. As a result of the legislation, in July 2018 the Ohio General Assembly adopted a moratorium on these standards so public and private school construction projects could fully understand the implications of the requirements. As a result, the following statement is the current requirement for Milford EVSD: "If financing has been secured for a project prior to September 15, 2019 the moratorium applies regardless of when the project is submitted (for building permit)."  

Milford EVSD is committed to the safety of our students and our community and will abide by all building code requirements for the potential building projects. We plan to utilize the latest school safety design strategies and will incorporate state of the art technology to ensure safe learning environments for all Milford students.

The Board decided to move forward with placing the levy on the ballot the first available election following the notification from OFCC, that funding would not be available in the near future.  The Clermont County Board of Elections estimates their costs to be $58,515. Regardless as to when the levy is placed on the ballot, the District would be responsible for the costs incurred by the Board of Elections for conducting the election.

What about the cost of the May election?

The Board decided to move forward with placing the levy on the ballot the first available election following the notification from OFCC that funding would not be available in the near future. The Clermont County Board of Elections estimates their costs to be $58,515. Regardless as to when the levy is placed on the ballot, the District would be responsible for the costs incurred by the Board of Elections for conducting the election. 

Milford Middle School

How long before the new middle school will open?

With the passage of the May 2019 bond issue, the design phase of the project could begin immediately. The new middle school should take 3-4 years to complete factoring in both design and construction time. We should be able to break ground in 2020 and open the new building as early as the 2022-2023 school year.

Where will the new middle school be located?

The exact location of the new building will be identified once the design process begins and engineering studies occur, but it is anticipated that the new building will be located at the west end of the current practice fields located next to the stadium. A part of the building program will be adjusting Eagles Way to allow for improved traffic, site circulation, and parking.

Where will the MJHS students be housed during construction?

Students will continue to use the current Junior High building until construction is complete. This eliminates the need and cost to rent additional space.

Will the high school and middle school be connected?

The two buildings may potentially be connected, most likely via the new auditorium, but this will be decided once the official design process commences.

What specifically are the academic benefits of having 6th graders in the middle school?  

Curriculum materials are developed and implemented by academic grade bands of K-5, 6-8, 9-12, so moving the sixth grade in with seventh and eighth makes it easier to align our curriculum. Having the sixth graders in one building also provides equity in gifted offerings and after-school enrichment opportunities, which currently vary by building. A middle school enables teachers with instructional expertise to teach science and math. Sixth graders will also be able to more easily accelerate academically and take 7th and 8th grade classes. In addition, band and choir can be offered during the school day for sixth graders instead of before school.

How will the middle school rate for LEED?

It is anticipated that the new middle school will be designed and constructed to meet LEED Silver standards.           

 

 

Milford Preschool

What happens to the Milford Preschool building?

The Milford Preschool building on State Route 28 is the oldest operating school in Clermont County. It was built in 1929 with additions in 1947, 1954, 1956, and 1980. The aging building no longer meets the needs of our staff and students. Preschool for students with special needs in integrated programs with typically-developing children is mandated by state law. Building a new preschool is a costly option. By building a middle school and moving the sixth graders out of the elementary schools, we can move our preschool program to two different elementary schools. This move is not only cost effective, but will be academically beneficial to the preschool students and offer more opportunities for enrichment. The district will sell the preschool building, which is marketable property. Funds from the sale of the preschool building would become part of the general fund.

What buildings will the preschool students be placed in?

The preschool program will be divided into two of our elementary buildings. The locations will be based on enrollment in those schools. We will determine these exact locations as we get closer to the opening of the new middle school.

 

 

Milford High School/Junior High School Auditorium

Why does Milford High School need a larger auditorium?

Among 20 Southwest Ohio schools surveyed, Milford High School has the smallest auditorium per enrollment numbers. The new proposed auditorium will serve 3,500 students still making it one of the smaller auditoriums in the area based on student enrollment.

The auditorium will expand Milford High School's current theater seating from 390 which cannot seat even one grade level. Each class now averages 500+ students.

The district will be able to host large theatrical, band, orchestra, and choir performances and large audiences for guest speakers and presentations. Our musical performances are now held in the gym which provides poor performance acoustics and uncomfortable seating.

 

Auditorium comparisons

Athletic Facilities

Why are athletic facilities included in the bond issue?

For optimal parking and traffic flow, it appears the best location for the new middle school is on the practice fields situated next to the stadium. The construction will impact the current wrestling facility (Robbins Building), weight room, locker rooms, and restrooms already in poor condition and in need of replacement. The bond would also fund new bleachers to meet ADA requirements. Restroom facilities will also be added to the stadium complex.

How much money has the Milford Athletic Boosters Club raised for MEVSD?

Milford School District is fortunate for the support of our dedicated and generous Milford Athletic Boosters who have donated $2.3 million in the past 18 years. The Boosters are ready to donate another $500,000 to the district. Over the years they have funded new turf at Eagles stadium, scoreboards, sound systems, equipment, field maintenance and renovations, signs, lights, transportation, and scholarships. The district cannot rely on the Boosters to fund all of the extensive repairs and replacements needed to our athletic facilities.

Why turf the soccer field?

The district is facing significant costs to maintain our current grass soccer field. By adding turf, the district will be able to rent the field to area teams. Rental fees will be saved to be used towards the replacement of the turf in the future.  This is the same model we are using for the football field and it is working well. The lifespan of a turf field is approximately 12 years. We do expect to install the turf on the soccer field early in the process so that we will better be able to provide adequate practice space during construction.