Troy voters consider school levy, building plan


By Matt Clevenger

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TROY — Voters in the Troy City Schools District will vote on a 6.96-mill levy in support of the school district during the upcoming general election on Nov. 7. The proposed levy is part of a larger plan to secure state funding for the construction of four new elementary school buildings and perform major upgrades to the electrical and HVAC systems at Troy High School.

If the levy is passed, Troy homeowners would pay $20.30 monthly per $100,000 in home value, Troy City Schools Steering Committee Co-Chair Ben Poeppelman said.

“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.”

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