Wheels set in motion to build new Pre-K-5th grade school at Carrollton

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Architect's rending of the new Pre-K - 5th grade building.

By Carol McIntire, Editor

Carrollton Exempted Village School District officials set the wheels in motion to open a new Pre-K through fifth grade school in 2024.

Board of education members agreed to move two mills of “inside millage” to fund the district’s portion of the $21 million project and approved an agreement with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) that secures $8.5 million in state funding. The local share will be $12.2 million.

The action came following a public hearing, during which Superintendent Dr. David Quattrochi explained what the process of inside millage means to taxpayers in the district.

Inside millage is tax dollars which are not voted on by residents. Under Ohio law, Carroll County receives 10 mills of inside millage. Of that 10 mills the school district receives four mills.

County Auditor Lynn Fairclough noted one mill equates to about $607,000 in revenue per year, so the district will be using $1.2 million a year to pay for the new building.

“According to the Ohio Revised Code, inside millage can only be moved for new construction and permanent improvements,” Quattrochi said.

District Treasurer Roxanne Mazur said there is a 20-mill floor on school funding to prevent taxpayers from being over-taxed.

“When levies are voted in, they can only raise that stated amount, plus any taxes on new construction. The district’s original continuing levies were approved by voters in 1976. In 1995 we started seeing growth from those levies and today they are up to 16 mills. When you combine the 16 mills with the four inside mills, you have a total of 20, which meets the ceiling level,” she explained.

Moving the two mills to cover the construction costs will reduce the district’s millage to 18 mills and free up two mills. Taxpayers will make up the two mills through an increase in property taxes.

Fairclough estimated it will cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000, $62 per year.

“That’s based on the market value of the home, not the tax value,” she said, adding deductions such as owner occupancy and homestead were not applied to the estimate. Market value is typically a higher value than the value used for tax purposes.

“Why are you doing it this way instead of asking taxpayers to approve the funding?” asked local resident Ken Joseph, who owns multiple properties in the county.

Quattrochi said the district was on a short time line to take advantage of the state’s offer to provide 41 percent of the funding.

“We were three years out on the funding list with the OFCC. Due to several variances, we received a call from them a few months ago saying they could fund 41 percent of the project if we could come up with the local share now,” he said. “If we wait three years and don’t pass a levy in that time, we will fall to the bottom of the state’s list and we almost certainly won’t get a 41 percent offer after that time.”

The deadline for the district to pass a resolution accepting the offer was May 13.

Quattrochi noted the state also paid 41 percent of the cost of the new middle school/high school complex built on SR 332. The building was designed to accommodate the construction of a pre-K-5th grade building on the south side.

“When we are done, we will have a $65 million complex at a cost of $62 a year on a $100,000 home, thanks to a tax abatement that funded the local share of the middle school/high school construction. They told us that couldn’t be done because it hadn’t been done before. We did it and now others are using this method. You have to think outside the box, be creative, in situations like this,” he said.

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