Council hears Troy City Schools levy presentation


By Matt Clevenger

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TROY — Members of a Troy City Schools steering committee attended the regularly scheduled Troy City Council meeting held on Monday, Sept. 18, delivering a presentation to council members on the 6.96 mill school levy that will appear on the ballot during the election in November.

If the levy is passed, Troy homeowners would pay $20.30 monthly per $100,000 in home value, Steering Committee Co-Chair Ben Poeppelman said. Funding from the levy would be used for the construction of four new elementary school buildings, and major upgrades to the electrical and HVAC systems at Troy High School.

“The average age of our elementary schools is 81 years old,” Poeppelman said. “The national average is 42.”

“Piqua, Tipp, Miami East and Newton, they all have significantly younger, newer schools,” he said. “Without a doubt, that is putting Troy at a disadvantage when you’re looking at people moving in and surveying our school system compared to surrounding ones.”

If the levy passes, the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) will contribute $45.6 million of the project’s total cost, which is estimated at $154 million. If the district does not pass the levy within two voting cycles, the OFCC will withdraw the funding offer, Poeppelman said.

“We have two voting cycles to pass this levy,” he said. “If we don’t, we drop off of the OFCC’s list.”

The district’s plan is a 6.96 mill combined levy, Poeppelman said, including 4.66 mills for 37 years for the new construction of the schools, and 2.3 mills over 29 years for high school infrastructure improvements and maintenance of the new elementary buildings.

“This is not just air conditioning in the high school,” Poeppelman said. “This is major infrastructure, meaning electrical, HVAC and energy-efficient lighting.”

“Our high school has to stay relevant for the next 30 years,” he said. “Once we pass this levy, our debt-to-income ratio is going to be skewed to where we cannot take another loan out to build more schools for another 30 years.”

Three new elementary school buildings would be constructed for students from pre-kindergarten through fourth-grade, and a new middle school building would be built for fifth and sixth-grade students.

“Heywood, Kyle, Van Cleve and Concord would be abated, demolished or returned to green space,” Poeppelman said. “The current Hook and Cookson sites will be abated, demolished and they will re-use those sites. The plan right now is to keep Forest for alternative learning programs.”

The new buildings would also allow the district to reduce its number of administrative positions, Poeppelman said, which could be accomplished gradually by attrition through retirements and resignations.

“They will not be fired,” he said. “We can do that through retirements and resignations; we actually can get to that number through attrition.”

More information on the district’s building plan and the school levy can be found online, through Facebook or at The steering committee is also currently seeking donations and additional volunteers to help with the levy campaign.

“We have a lot of work to do in pretty short order, but we are absolutely up to the task,” Poeppelman said. “If you would like to get involved, we’d love to have you.”

“Without a doubt, I think this is Troy’s best chance of passing the levy this far,” he said. “We hear that people don’t want to pay extra money for taxes. Neither do I; however, this is the best plan to optimize our hard-earned money with the utilization of state dollars.”

“Nothing is getting cheaper,” Poeppelman said. “The longer we wait, the more it’s going to cost taxpayers.”

City council members took no legislative action following the school levy presentation; council member Jeffrey Whidden commented in support of the school building plan, referring to other local districts who have recently received state funding for building construction.

“We pay for those schools,” Whidden said. “Now it’s our turn to get some of that money back.”

Council member Samuel Pierce expressed thanks for the high school resource officer’s response during the recent false alarm, and council member Todd Severt discussed a recent meet-the-at-large-council members event held at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center on Saturday, Sept. 16.

“We actually had one or two new people who hadn’t been there before, who had issues that they brought to us,” Severt said. “Hopefully we can address those issues.”

“I want to thank you for having the at-large meetings,” Troy resident Steve Hendrikson said, suggesting that other council members should also host a similar event. “We find out a lot more at those meetings. I think the council folks are a lot more relaxed.”

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