Tipp project funding in question

By Cecilia Fox - For the Miami Valley Today

TIPP CITY — According to a letter from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, inconsistencies between the master facilities plan and the plans shown to the community could cause Tipp City Schools to lose some of its state co-funding for new classrooms.

Superintendent Gretta Kumpf received a letter from OFCC Executive Director David Williamson on Friday warning that the district may not receive the co-funding credit it expects after the commission learned that the district intends to pursue a different construction project than the one agreed upon in the master facilities plan.

A bond issue funding the project will appear on the May 7 ballot. The district’s website, informational materials and community meetings described the project as the renovation and expansion of L.T. Ball Intermediate School to house pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students.

“Based on information provided to us, including information set forth on the District’s website and in its April 9, 2019, community meeting video, commission staff now understand that the district intends to use L.T. Ball Intermediate only as a PK-5 facility and apparently that has been the District’s intent even though the Tipp City Board of Education passed a resolution and entered the ELPP Project Agreement stating it was a PK-6,” Williamson wrote.

A statement from the district said the letter seems inconsistent with the district’s prior communications with the OFCC.

“The district has been in regular contact with OFCC throughout the facilities planning process. This latest correspondence appears inconsistent with prior communications. The district’s superintendent, treasurer, and Board of Education continue to review documents,” Kumpf said in the statement.

The OFCC approved and the board passed a resolution last year for a master facilities plan that included a pre-kindergarten through sixth grade addition to L.T. Ball Intermediate, as well as housing seventh and eighth grade students at the high school, and the demolition of Broadway Elementary, Nevin Coppock Elementary and Tippecanoe Middle School.

Williamson’s letter noted that it is the district’s decision whether to construct a pre-kindergarten through fifth grade addition or one that includes the sixth grade, as agreed upon in the master facilities plan.

Williamson said that the cost set and available co-funding would change if the district goes ahead with the pre-kindergarten through fifth grade plan, dropping by about $6 million. The district would be solely responsible for the difference in cost, he added.

He said the OFCC recommends that the district amend its master facilities plan to “better reflect (its) true intended use,” otherwise the district “will not receive the potential credit that it currently expects.”

The district has placed a 27-year, $35.75 million bond issue on the May ballot to fund the renovation of approximately 60 percent of L.T. Ball Intermediate School and the addition of about 94,000 square feet in new classrooms, an additional gymnasium and a stage.

The district has committed to participate in the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission’s (OFCC) Expedited Local Partnership program with a 35 percent co-funding rate. The estimated co-funding amount from the state is $10,092,584.

By Cecilia Fox

For the Miami Valley Today