Board OKs $857,000 to level schools
By SALLY BOYD
Gazette Neighbors Editor
The Bellevue City School District may have closed four of its buildings this month in anticipation of the opening of the new Bellevue Elementary and Bellevue Middle Schools in August, but the citizens of Bellevue will now be gaining not only the two beautiful buildings, but as of Thursday evening, also three new city parks.
The Bellevue Board of Education, meeting in regular monthly session Thursday night, approved the sale of the land on which sits the now defunct Bellevue Middle School, Ellis and Ridge Elementary Schools to the City of Bellevue for use as parks.
Under terms of the resolution adopted by the board, the trio of properties — located at 327 Ellis Ave., 126 Ridge Dr., and 215 North St., will be transferred to the City of Bellevue for the sale price of $1.
The agreement includes a commitment by the board to complete demolition and removal of the buildings as soon as practical, but no earlier than Fall 2012, following approval and execution of the agreement by the board and city; and a reservation in favor of the board for a right of first offer, effective for 20 years following the legal closing, to re-purchase the property or any relevant portion thereof, in the event the city intends to sell or otherwise transfer ownership of any part of the property to a third party or if the property is used for any purpose other than for city parks.
Superintendent Kim Schubert said, “I am extremely excited the board is making this donation to the city… These are properties the taxpayers have paid for… They will provide more opportunities for families to share time together outdoors.”
Schubert said the city intends to use the Ellis property for a neighborhood park, with the current playground equipment to remain; Ridge will become Little League fields and the Middle School will become a “town square” where a variety of activities can be envisioned, including concerts.
Along with the planned transfer of the properties, the board also passed a resolution awarding the abatement and demolition contracts for the three above properties, as well as the closed York Elementary School. For now, at least, the board is retaining ownership of that U.S. 20 West property.
A contract will be awarded to Total Environmental Services for the asbestos and hazardous materials removal for all four buildings; the firm, located in Toledo, submitted a base bid of $486,830. The contract for demolition of Ellis, Ridge and York, will be let to A.J. Riley, Inc., Norwalk, for a base bid of $198,484 and the contract for the demolition of Bellevue Middle School was awarded to Ed Burdue and Co., LLC, Sandusky, which submitted a bid of $172,000. Total cost will be $857,314, which, Treasurer Nancy Beier said, was “under budget by over $700,000.”
The board, which had an unusually heavy agenda, also gave notice it will be placing a renewal levy on the Nov. 6 ballot. Treasurer Nancy Beier requested the resolution authorizing the renewal of a tax of $1,350,000 for emergency purposes. The five-year levy was first passed in 1998 by district voters and last renewed in 2008. The district will ask voters to approve the same levy, but for 10 years, meaning the board does not have to return to voters as often.
“By going to 10 years, this will give stability not only to the district, but to the taxpayers,” said Schubert.
At Beier’s request, the board approved the finance reports for May, temporary appropriations of $10,321,758 for fiscal year 2012–13, added $700 to the resident educator fund, transferred $127,304 from the permanent improvement fund to the maintenance fund, and $2,868 from the general fund to the bond retirement fund (interest earned on the bond retirement fund, June 2011 through May 2012).
In addition, the board okayed the district’s auto, property and liability insurance through the Ohio School Plan for July 1 through June 30, 2013, at a cost of $51,542 and approved the Bellevue Public Library’s fiscal year 2013 tax budget.
The other major news of the evening was the announcement the board has reached new three-year negotiated agreements with the district’s teaching (Bellevue Education Association) and non-teaching (OAPSE — Ohio Association of Public School Employees) unions effective July 1 through June 30, 2015. Both groups agreed to a 1.5 percent increase on the base salary each year for a two-year period; contracts will be reopened for salary discussions only during the third year of the agreement.
Similarly, the board approved an identical salary increase of 1.5 percent for administrators, superintendent Kim Schubert and Treasurer Nancy Beier, also effective for the same time period with increases coming each year for two years. All three groups had taken a pay freeze under the previous contract, with Schubert expressing her appreciation to the staff for working with the district to keep costs under control.
The board adjourned into executive session for the purpose of discussing personnel and property. No action was taken.