The Board of Education took a “historic” step on Wednesday, accepting a recommendation from the district’s Facilities Advisory Committee to adopt a master plan that calls for a new middle school-high school building and create a one-campus learning environment for all Perkins Schools students.
The Board also took the preliminary steps to issue $76 million in bonds to be repaid over 37 years at a 5 percent interest rate. Once the Erie County Auditor’s office certifies the dollar amount, the Board of Education is expected to take further action at its January 11 meeting to officially put the bond issue on the May 2, 2023, primary ballot.
“This is a historic evening,” said Ted Kastor, vice president of the Perkins Schools Board of Education, after members voted 5-0 to approve a resolution calling for the bond issue.
Mr. Kastor and other Board members thanked the district’s Facilities Advisory Committee members for their time and service to the district during the past several months.
The Facilities Advisory Committee, which includes parents, school teachers and staff, Board members, and community members, has been meeting since July to examine the conditions of the district’s four buildings, review enrollment projections and data, and educational facility needs. The committee and review of the facilities was called for as part of the Perkins Schools’ Strategic Plan that had been adopted in January 2020.
Representatives of the committee came to the Board meeting on Wednesday and recommended the Board consider a two-phase facilities master plan.
Phase 1 of the plan is to construct a new middle school-high school with an auditorium, estimated to cost up to $76 million, on land south of the PHS football stadium. Once that building is constructed, Grades 6 to 12 would move there, and then Grades Pre-K to 5 from Furry Elementary and Meadowlawn Intermediate School would be moved to the current high school. The committee’s recommendation also included clearing the sites for the new structures.
Phase 2 of the plan would be to construct an elementary school where Briar Middle School now sits. The bond issue would not cover the cost of building that structure.
Also at the meeting on Wednesday were Richard Manoloff, from the law firm of Squire Patton Boggs, and Patrick King, of Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., who helped guide the Board with the appropriate resolution language and terms.
Mr. Manoloff and Mr. King said they estimate a 6.77-mill levy will be posed to Perkins voters for the bond issue. For the owner of a $100,000 home, that would cost approximately $238 a year, they said.
(To find out how much a levy would increase your taxes based on your home value, visit the Erie County Auditor’s Office Tax Estimator.)
Cost estimates for the proposed structures were provided by Fanning Howey, an architecture and engineering firm that the district hired to help guide the Facilities Advisory Committee.
Committee member Jenn Roesch told the Board that if all goes well and voters approve a May 2 levy, the first class to graduate from the new building would be the Class of 2027. The building plans and design would take roughly a year to develop and construction another two years.