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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

We are adding to this list of FAQs regularly. Have a question that you don’t see an answer to? Email us at bgfamiliesforschools@gmail.com!

Why is the bond needed?
The current high school building is out of date, needing tens of millions in repairs and requiring significant costs annually to maintain its declining infrastructure.  

  • Asbestos is throughout the building, the brick is crumbling and cracking, the heating and cooling system is outdated and inefficient, there are constant steam pipe leaks, and the entire electrical system needs replaced.

  • Classrooms are small and do not meet the current standards established by the State of Ohio. They lack proper technology and equipment to prepare our students most effectively for the career and college environment of the 21st century.

  • Safety upgrades like secure entrances and enhanced video security systems are needed.

  • The school is 60 years old.

Why build a new high school?
The current high school can no longer be repaired and maintained in a cost-effective manner and needs to be replaced.


Additionally, much has evolved in education over the past 60 years and students need enhanced career and technology lab space as well as equipment to remain competitive in the 21st century career and college environment. Making repairs to the current building would not address these much-needed infrastructure concerns.

What safety updates are needed for the high school?
A new high school building will ensure our students have safer and more secure entrances and access points. A new building will also allow for much-needed improvements to the school’s visitor management system, access controls, and video security systems.

What is being planned for this additional funding?

 

Construction of a new high school building on the site of the old high school with construction set to begin in 2025 with the new school opening in 2027.

The bond issue also includes funding for ongoing maintenance for the new high school.


How does the school district know a new building is needed?

  • The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) assessed the high school building in 2023 and indicated the cost of repair and renovation would be $47.5 million. 

  • Using the OFCC’s threshold for a feasible renovation, the State of Ohio would not co-fund a repair-renovation of the current high school because the costs are too high.

  • Building a new high school is the most cost-effective use of taxpayer dollars. 

How have citizens been involved in the process so far?

The board of education gathered, and will continue to gather, feedback from community members at public meetings.

  • The Facilities Advisory Committee was created to ensure the solution to the deteriorating Bowling Green schools was community-driven. The Facilities Advisory Committee was a 50-person group composed of parents, teachers, residents, community partners, school staff, and board of education members. This group met approximately 17 times throughout the course of this process and held several different community meetings, including school tours.

  • While many of our buildings need work, starting with the high school was supported by 82% of the Facilities Advisory Committee in 2022.

How will the school district be accountable to citizens for the additional spending?

Bowling Green City Schools will continue its commitment to transparency and fiscal responsibility through all phases of building. BGCS received a clean audit in 2022 from the State Auditor’s Office; the state audits approximately 6,000 public entities a year, with only about 8% receiving a clean audit.

How will this levy affect property values?
Property values are correlated positively with strong school districts. To maintain a strong school district, we need to ensure Bowling Green is home to schools equipped to prepare our students to be competitive in the 21st century career and college environment.

What will the bond cost?
$16.14 per month for each $100,000 in residential property value.

What is on the ballot?


Bowling Green City Schools will be placing a 5.53 mills bond for construction of a new high school on the November 7, 2023 ballot that would generate $72.8 million.

I know an objection to past plans to build new school facilities was the fact that the district was not planning to take state money. Is the school district seeking state funds to build a new high school as part of the current plan?

Yes, the school district has already entered the state’s Expedited Local Partnership Program (ELPP). ELPP is the only state program the school district is eligible for at this time. 

The district expects to receive a 17% reimbursement, which equates to around $7.5 million. The district shared this during a presentation on Sept. 19. The slides from that presentation are here: https://resources.finalsite.net/images/v1695154120/bgcsk12ohus/tyeybddqynzai6x5dhjf/20230919_AnswersToAug30Presentation.pdf (See Slide 18.) 

I’ve heard that BG residents already pay more than other communities in school taxes. Is that right? 

That’s not correct. Residents of Bowling Green school district currently contribute less than surrounding districts. Based on a $150,000 home value and $60,000 income, a typical resident of BG currently pays:

  • $126 less than in Elmwood

  • $216 less than in Otsego

  • $318 less than in Eastwood

  • $498 less than in Fostoria

  • $570 less than in Rossford

  • $834 less than in North Baltimore

  • $1,125 less than in Perrysburg

[Figures from Wood County Auditor, January 2023]

I know the county auditor is revaluing property countywide right now, how will this affect the proposed bond issue to build a new high school?

The Wood County Auditor’s Office (our local tax assessment authority) revalues property in the county every three years. This happened three years ago and it will happen twice more this decade.

 

Bond issues – like that being proposed for a new high school – are designed to collect a fixed amount. Ohio law ensures that approximately the same amount is collected each year for the voted bond millage. As a result, the millage rates will be factored up or down by the Ohio Department of Taxation so that the total amount collected will remain consistent with the amount originally voted. There is no windfall to the school district when revaluations occur.

 

“This is an important concept to understand because the reappraisal law is designed to equalize all values among taxpayers, not to enhance revenue for the taxing authorities. In other words, this is not a means of raising taxes or lowering taxes; it’s a rebalancing of the tax value burden among individual properties and classes,” County Auditor Matthew Oestreich said in an Aug. 2023 press release. (https://auditor.co.wood.oh.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/2023-Revaluation-Press-Release-1.pdf)

 

Examples might help:

 

1) Assume a school district is made up entirely of residential real estate. If a levy is designed to collect $1 million/year, and all residential values go up 25%, the school district does not collect $1.25 million for that levy. It still collects $1 million, and the millage (percent of property value collected as tax) is dropped to match what needs collected.

 

2)  Assume a school district is made up of just two houses, both valued by the County Auditor at $100,000, and there is a school levy that raises $20/year. Because both houses are valued the same, they both pay $10/year to the bond. If both get a 25% valuation increase, both houses still pay $10/year to the bond.

 

3) Expanding on Example #2, now assume one house goes up 75% and the other goes up only 25%, making the auditor values $175,000 and $125,000 respectively. In this scenario, the $125,000 home, that just received an increase of 25% in value, will only pay $8.33/year, and the $175,000 home will pay $11.66/year. In this instance, the $125,000 home, whose value went up 25%, actually pays less because the tax burden shifts to the $175,000 home.

Are you endorsing any school board candidates?


No. We are a nonpartisan effort of volunteers who share a commitment to investing in our public schools. But we do believe that any serious school board candidate should support the bond issue to build a new high school.

 

Are the elementary schools in worse shape than the high school? Why are we starting with the high school?

 

The current focus on a new high school is consistent with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission’s 2015 Facility Assessment Report and the 2022 recommendation of the Facilities Advisory Committee, which was made up of BGCS community members from a variety of backgrounds.

 

The OFCC toured all five schools in the district in 2015 and categorized the High School, Conneaut Elementary, and Kenwood Elementary as Borderline facilities in need of significant investment. (Crim Elementary was categorized as Satisfactory; the Middle School, Excellent.)

 

The Facilities Advisory Committee toured all of the BGCS school buildings, as well as school buildings in surrounding districts, in 2022. They also held a series of public meetings and discussions before making their recommendation to the school district. Starting with an investment in the high school was supported by 82% of the Facilities Advisory Committee.

 

Our elementary buildings deserve attention, too.

Someone told me there's A "levy estimator," where's that?

 

The County Auditor has a great “Levy Estimator” tool on its website at auditor.co.wood.oh.us/. We’ve had plenty of voters tell us they’ve found the tool helpful and that after understanding the cost to their property, they plan to support the bond issue. Owners of both residential and agricultural property have reached similar conclusions.

 

The Levy Estimator can be found by clicking on “Property Search” and searching by one of the following categories: Owner Name, Location Address, Parcel Number, Map Number, or Legal Description. Once you have located your property, click “Levy Estimator” located on the top menu bar (if you are on a mobile device, you may need to click on “More”).

 

If you have questions about the Levy Estimator, or the bond issue and your specific property, please reach out! 

 

In case it’s helpful, a few specific parcel examples we’ve calculated recently:

 

Example #1. The first property is a 20.28 acre agricultural parcel with a gross value of $142,500 (after tentative 2023 revaluation). The property has a new Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) of $20,230 (after tentative 2023 revaluation). The County Auditor is estimating that the school bond millage will be between 4.0 and 4.2 mills, after revaluation, if the bond issue is approved by voters in November. (We talk to the Auditor's Office a bunch! Any BGCS voter can call and confirm this!) 

  • 20.23 CAUV taxable value x 4.2 mills = $84.97/year for the bond issue to build a new high school.

  • Or, $7.08/month.

  • Or, $4.19/acre per year.

  

Example #2. The second property is a 0.2225 acre residential parcel. The new gross value is $297,100 (after tentative 2023 revaluation). New taxable value is $103,990 (after tentative 2023 revaluation). 

  • 103.99 taxable value  x 4.2 mills = $436.76/year for the bond issue to build a new high school.

  • Or, $36.40/month.

 

Example #3. The third property is an 18.39 acre agricultural parcel. The new gross value is $137,700 (after tentative 2023 revaluation). The new Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) is $17,510 (after tentative 2023 revaluation). 

  • 17.51 CAUV taxable value x 4.2 mills = $73.54/year for the bond issue to build a new high school.

  • Or, $6.13/month.

  • Or, $4.00/acre per year.

The high school looks awful. Why didn’t the school district maintain it?

Our maintenance staff has struggled to maintain our schools with the funds budgeted each year. The school district can only budget and spend money it has secured from local taxpayers and the state of Ohio. As a result, certain maintenance items at the high school must be deferred each year. Deferred maintenance, or the practice of postponing major repairs in order to stay within the budget, grows in scope – and cost! – the longer such maintenance items are postponed. 

This ‘band-aid’ approach isn’t working, and there is no combination of targeted maintenance and renovation that can modernize our high school building and learning spaces in a cost-effective way.

While current classrooms are cramped and don't meet state standards, the new high school’s design will reflect developments in technology and teaching methods. A new high school will also allow for critical safety upgrades.  

As we reach this conclusion as a community, we will already be late to the party. Perrysburg built a new high school in 2001, and Elmwood built a new high school in 2004. For Otsego, it was 2007, and North Baltimore followed in 2012. Rossford just recently finished construction of its new high school in 2020. The time for repair and renovation is over, and the need for a new high school building is growing more desperate every year.

Finally, it's important to note: When the state cost shares on new construction, as they would on our new high school project, it is a requirement that one half mill (0.5 mill) be placed in a special fund that can only be used for maintenance and upkeep of the new building.

This bond issue is a property tax. Why isn’t there an income tax component?

 

Businesses don’t pay school district income tax. School district income taxes are paid only by people who live in the district. Individuals who work, but do not live, in a school district are not subject to the district’s income tax. So, if someone works in Bowling Green, but lives in Maumee, they do not pay school district income tax to Bowling Green City Schools.

 

A property tax is more affordable for the average family because a school district property tax is paid by residents AND businesses. School district property taxes are paid on residential, agricultural, commercial, industrial, and public utility real estate in the district. 

 

The school board has considered funding the new high school project with a mix of property and income tax in the past. Specifically, when the project was being discussed ahead of the 2022 November ballot, the board considered three funding examples that would raise $70 million for a new high school.

 

The examples were based on a home value of $100,000 and a median family income of $66,215, and the 100% property tax was determined to be the most affordable for the median BGCS family. 

We all benefit from long-term investments in our schools, but that’s especially true for those who own property in and around Bowling Green. Access to modern, well-equipped schools is one of the single greatest factors affecting property values and the marketability of our community.

***Sources:

 

https://tax.ohio.gov/individual/school-district-income-tax/school-district-income

 

https://tax.ohio.gov/help-center/faqs/income-school-district

 

https://bgindependentmedia.org/bg-schools-property-tax-plan-defended-as-best-option/

 

https://bgindependentmedia.org/bg-school-board-debates-how-to-fund-new-high-school-project/

Where can I find the plans for the new high school?

 

Plans for the new high school are available on the school district’s website here: https://www.bgcs.k12.oh.us/district/superintendent/facilities-planning

 

The architect’s Aug. 30 public presentation is available on YouTube here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdPCQFLQcwA

Is any of the high school being saved?

Preserving the parts of the current high school that still have utility reduces project costs, saving taxpayers money.

 

Plans for the new high school project include preserving and renovating 54,000 sq. ft. (approximately 30%) of our current building. If we had instead decided to demo this 54,000 sq. ft. and build new, we would only get 14,000 sq. ft. for this price. Repurposing the parts of the current building that still have utility is smart and saves taxpayers money.

 

The areas of the current high school that will be saved were additions to the original high school and include music rooms, the main gymnasium, the auxiliary gymnasium area, and the cafeteria.  

how will a new high school building improve educational outcomes?

The current high school’s 1960s-era classrooms are cramped and don’t meet Ohio’s current standards. There are very few collaborative or flexible learning spaces. Classrooms don’t have enough electrical outlets, and many rooms lack basic technology and equipment. (Nearly all of the high school’s science classrooms lack gas and water lines!)

 

The district’s 176-page “Educational Facility Master Plan” (Sept. 2023) does a great job connecting the plans for the built space to teaching and learning goals. That plan is available on the BGCS website here: https://resources.finalsite.net/images/v1696434131/bgcsk12ohus/o1y37hgpk7wcaohwe2r8/20231004_EducationalFaciltyMasterPlan.pdf

Window A/C unit to cool classroom
Doorjamb with water collecting on it due to leak
Oudated sink in classroom
Old radiator with chipped paint
Crowded, outdated science storage
outdated restroom
classroom with chipped paint on walls
weightroom with fence in it
water fountains with rust marks below
library with limited outdated seating
doorjamb with condensation formed on horiztonal section
weightroom with various objects mounted on wall
Vote Yes for BG Schools
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