YES4VBS - Supporting Van Buren Local Schools

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  • J U S T   T H E   F A C T S

    About the Levy:

    - A portion of our current facilities have aged beyond their useful lives

    - In order to address this, the board and our superintendent have put a new levy on the ballot for May 6th

    - The New Levy is 6.9 MILS in additional tax

    - The actual increase for the 2015 calendar year will be 5.6 MILS due to a reduction obtained when favorable interest rates allowed a re-sale of the bonds issued in 2000

    - 5.6 MILS = +/- $195 annually per $100,000 of Appraised 100% market value based on the Hancock county Auditor’s website:

    - Total Project Funding = $29.3 Million (New Construction = $19.8 Million, Refurbish/Remodel = $9.5 Million)

    - Using current data, passage of the Levy in May would equate to a tax increase of approximately $195 per $100,000 of appraised value. For example:

    Appraised Value Tax Increase Per Month Per Week Per Day
    $100,000 $195 $16.25 $3.75 $.53
    $150,000 $292.50 $24.37 $5.62 $.80
    $200,000 $390 $32.50 $7.50 $1.07
    $250,000 $487.50 $40.62 $9.37 $1.33
    $300,000 $585 $48.75 $11.25 $1.60


     Fact About the proposed project:

    - Existing (Middle school/High school only) 156,175 SF

    - Demolition 43,787 SF  (To see a map of the proposed demolition, click Here.)

    - New construction square footage 87,424 SF

    - Total square footage final 199,812 SF

    - Refurbished areas and additional: Corridor Connectors at music wings and Cafeteria, Cafeteria, Kitchen, HVAC systems throughout, Plumbing and Electrical throughout, New Bus Garage (Off Site), HVAC and Roof repairs at elementary building, increased parking

  • Fact Cost Comparison - Renovation vs. New Construction:


  • Q and A When will the staff/teachers be involved in the decision making process?

    - School building projects begin by determining primary needs. In our case two architectural firms and the State OFCC were brought in to do studies of our existing facilities and to determine what our structural, system, and building needs are. A general budget based on student population, expected growth, and building needs is then established. This is the figure that is used to determine the funding needed for a Bond Levy. More detailed plans occur after the passage of the Bond Levy. The cost of detailed plans prior to the approval of the Bond Levy is not a good financial practice. Without the levy funds to pay for the planning, the cost of the architectural plans would have to come out of the general operating funds putting a strain on the everyday and educational budget of the district. Once a Bond Levy is passed it is approximately a year before any building begins. It is in the time immediately following the passage of the levy that teachers, parents, administration, the Board and the community would have an opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas concerning what details should go into the building. If the levy would pass in May, early meetings with the teachers to develop and design academic spaces could begin before the end of the school year, through the summer, and into next fall.

  • Q and A What is our State, Local (taxes) and Federal Funding compared to other communities?


  • Q and A How does this millage stack up against other districts?

  • Q and A Do you plan to acquire houses by eminent domain?

    - We have no intent to acquire homes by eminent domain.

  • Q and A Why isn’t the State helping pay for the building like in other districts?

    - The state determines what school districts it will help based on a formula that takes into account the total valuation of the property in the district and the number of students in the district. According to the latest list, the Van Buren District is ranked 560 out of 612 districts. In the state’s formula, districts with a lower number get more monies and first opportunity for the funds. Higher numbered districts receive little or no monies and have to wait their turn. As an example when North Baltimore did their project they were ranked around 155 on the list and the state provided 60% of the funding for their project. Findlay was ranked around 352 on the list and the state provided approximately 30% of the funding for their project. The last discussion that was held with the state was in 2012. At that time they would only provide 5% of the funding for our project. The state requires more stringent guidelines and restrictions on the use of their money so accepting their 5% would incur cost for the project that far exceed their contribution.

  •  Q and A What is the cost, per student, for the building project?

    - The new project is projected to hold up to 800 students (current enrollment is grades 6-12 558 students). Estimated cost of new project is $29,337,800 divided by 800 students = $36,672.25 per student.

    - The new project is projected to hold up to 800 students (current enrollment is grades 6-12 558 students). Estimated cost of new project is $29,337,800 divided by 800 students = $36,672.25 per student.

  • Q and A What is the location choice for the addition?

    - Where to build new HS/MS space has debated for years in our district. Several years ago, the Board considered looking for property away from the current site. The Board at that time made a decision that keeping everything on the current campus was the best option. We believe that it creates a better more cooperative environment grades K through 12 than having buildings separated by a greater distance. A strategic plan that was conducted in 2009 also concluded that keeping everything on the current site was the best, preferred option. I would have to believe that as far back as planning for the construction in 2000 the thought was to keep the HS/MS on this site or why spend the dollars for a new auditorium and Fine Arts wing.

    As for where the new addition would go on the current site, it is influenced by the space restrictions of our current property. While there are additional properties that the district would like to acquire to enhance our property, we can only begin outlining the project based on our current holdings.

  • Q and A Why not go with an income tax instead of another property tax?

    - When you pass an income tax the collection is based on wages earned by RESIDENTS of the school district. People who work in the community but do not live in the community do not have to pay the income tax. In addition, income tax is based on wages, not profits so businesses that are located in the district may not have to pay the tax if they do not also reside in the district. Since this is the case a large portion of the tax burden will be shifted from Commercial property owners to district residents.

    An example would be:

    If we passed an income tax to collect 10 million dollars, and for example let’s say we are 45% commercial and 55% residential, then the $10 million would all be paid be the residential and nothing by the commercial. If the same was true regarding a property tax then the residential would pay $5.5 million and the Commercial would pay $4.5 million. So because we are so heavily Commercial, it is more advantageous to our tax payers to shift some of that burden on to commercial properties located in the district.

  • Q and A What is our current maintenance cost per year? Reduction with new facility?

    - Our current budget for building and grounds upkeep, maintenance, and repairs is approximately $450,000. To date we have currently expended over $250,000 for this year.

    With constant repairs being required by our HVAC system and other plumbing issues, it would seem logical that major repairs and upgrades to these systems would reduce our annual maintenance costs. Newer buildings and upgrades would also reduce our need for other building repairs including electrical and lighting repairs.

  • Q and A Why do we need a new gym?

    - One major factor in the need for a new gymnasium involves the bleachers in the current HS gym. The bleachers in this gym are the original bleachers installed in 1972. These bleachers are breaking down and becoming unsafe. After 42 years of use, these bleachers need to be replaced. Parts for repairs are becoming hard to find, if available at all. A simple solution would be to replace the current bleachers with new. The problem with this scenario is that the minute that I attempt to make this repair we would lose 25% of the seating in the gym because I must then meet all current codes and ADA requirements. This includes designated wheel chair spots and designated 4’ wide aisles. There are times when we have over flow and cannot accommodate everyone with the current bleacher set up. Losing 25% of the seating would make the situation much worse. Part of the plan in the 2000 construction project was to add more bleachers to this gym. Structurally, it could not be done, leading to the situation that we are dealing with today.

    With the addition of a new gym, this gym would become the designated Middle School gym. The bleachers could be replaced and the loss of seating would still accommodate everyone for events at that level. Quite possibly this gym would also become the gym that would be available for public use, replacing the 1952 gym that was removed from public use when the weight room had to be moved into this space several years ago. The old locker rooms that the Middle School students currently use are located under the old 1952 gym. These 62 year old locker rooms are old, dark, musty, and deteriorating.

  • Q and A Proposed architects selection, Local Projects?

    - Architects and Engineering firms have been involved in this project since 2009. In late 2009 the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission (OSFC) was brought to campus to do a detailed analysis of the districts buildings and facilities. Architects and Engineers from OSFC evaluated our facilities and presented a report to the Board of Education.

    Upon review of the OSFC report, the Board desired another building study for comparison purposes. Fourteen Architectural firms presented proposals. Six were selected for interview and the Board chose RCM Architects in Findlay for this purpose. RCM finished their study in late 2010.

    Last year, the Board made the decision to move forward with this project and a request for proposals was sent out to the school design community in Ohio. Twenty-six (26) firms responded to with Requests for Proposals (RFPs). The Board’s Facilities Committee and the Superintendent reviewed the RFPs and made reference calls which allowed us to recommend 6 firms for the Board to interview. These interviews took place in November of 2013. Following the interviews the list was narrowed to three (3). Site visits were made to projects that these firms had completed and second interviews were conducted. At the end of that process, Garmann-Miller Architects-Engineers out of Minster, Ohio was selected for this project.

    Garmann-Miller Architects-Engineers have been involved in several local projects. They were involved early in Carey’s recently approved building project. They completed projects in both the Kansas-Lakota School District and the Findlay City School District. They have also been selected by the Liberty Benton School District for early planning for their proposed new building project.

  • Q and A What will the 29 million create?

    Classroom Addition - Phase One

    Approximately 37 various sized educational spaces (classrooms): Each to have natural day-lighting, latest technology, voice enhancement system, cabinetry, smart boards or touch screen monitors, marker boards, bulletin boards, flexible seating, air conditioning, etc.

    Central Atrium: Multi use space, expand cafeteria seating, flexible educational areas, access to educational spaces, community uses, student gathering spaces, natural light.

    High School & Middle School Offices: Secured entry from visitor parking, waiting area, workspaces, conference spaces, adjacent to cafeteria & atrium.

    Gymnasium, Locker Rooms, Weight Room - Phase Two

    New Varsity Gym: 14,000 sq. ft. allows for main basketball court and two full sized basketball practice courts, divider curtain to allow two physical education classes or practices simultaneously, additional practice baskets, two or more volleyball courts, seating for approximately 1,400 – 1,500.

    Locker Rooms: Three or four locker rooms, handicapped accessible, coach’s offices, training room, dual use for physical education and sports teams, game clock display

    Weight Room: Accommodate all existing equipment

    Additional Project Features

    New public restrooms, concessions, convert existing varsity gym to junior high gym (seating on one side), corridor connectors at music wing and kitchen (better circulation), kitchen improvements and small addition, air conditioning throughout, replace plumbing and electrical systems, new bus garage (off site), HVAC and roof repairs at elementary building, increased parking, wireless throughout, storage, maintenance area(s)

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