1. What’s wrong with the current school facilities?
Why are we discussing a building plan?
All our school buildings are old, inefficient, and present numerous challenges – educational and financial alike. Most concerningly, none of our buildings are conducive to current teaching practices. The elementary school in Milan was built in 1922 and is 100 years old. The middle school in Berlin Heights was built in 1890 and is 132 years old, though multiple additions have been made throughout. Our high school is our newest building, which was built in 1971 and is 51 years old.
Unfortunately, these buildings pose safety and security challenges, and no longer meet our community’s educational and technological needs. Every day, students, teachers, families, and staff must deal with serious disruptions, including:
- Lack of proper temperature control
- Failing electrical systems that cannot handle modern technology
- Non-existent safety and security mechanisms
- Inefficient or non-functional windows and doors
- Inadequate ventilation
- Leaky plumbing
- Leaky roofs
2. Why are these facilities in disrepair – did the district neglect them?
No, in fact, it’s the opposite! School buildings do not reach the 100-year, 132-year mark and 51-year-old marks without careful attention to proper maintenance and upkeep. These buildings have, by far, surpassed the normal life expectancy of school buildings in Ohio. Our maintenance staff does a fantastic job keeping our schools as safe and clean as possible, and in the best outwardly visible shape possible.
3. What is Edison Local Schools doing now to address its facility challenges?
Ten years ago, the Edison Schools began working with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) to look for solutions to our aging facilities. Two years ago, we began revisiting those plans and studies to finally address our facilities, but COVID-19 disrupted the process. Today, our facility concerns continue to grow, just as the cost to solve them is starting to grow.
Over the past few weeks, we have held a series of community meetings to actively discuss our facility challenges, and review potential solutions. We are currently engaging in an in-depth process to hear more feedback from leaders, teachers, students, parents, and residents.
We are also currently convening a Facility Advisory Committee (FAC) composed of community residents, teachers, staff, and parents to provide input into future building plans. The FAC will meet repeatedly to review financial information, enrollment trends, school buildings’ conditions, and the state’s recommendation.
By the end of April, the Facility Advisory Committee will decide what recommendation to make the Board about how to address our facility needs.
4. What building plans has the district been considering?
Our pre-design architect, GPD Group, has put together estimated pricing for four potential options, as seen in the table below. A crucial goal of the Facility Advisory Committee is to determine what is the best plan for our district
, which may include an option that has not yet been suggested. To learn more details about these potential options, click here to watch
a facilities presentation from July 2021.
New PK-5 (* or 6) in BH/Reno+ add HS
$55.6 M +LFIs
New PK-8, Renovate HS (1 site)
New PK-6+Reno+Add to HS (1 site)
|New PK-5, New 6-8, Reno HS (3 site)|
$63.8 M +LFIs
*Cost updates and options have been updated as of April 8, 2022. Cost totals are based on the most recent OFCC numbers. Options are based on suggestions from the New Facilities Committee comprised of various community members.*
Why can’t we just renovate the buildings?
Securing state dollars and the existing spaces themselves are big impediments to the possibility of renovation. Previously, the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission assessed all our buildings, at no cost to our district. The OFCC recommends building new IF the cost to renovate a facility to state minimum standards is at least two-thirds (66%) of the cost to build new. As you can see below, all our facilities meet or exceeded that threshold.
- Edison Elementary School Renovation/Replacement –> 77%
- Edison Middle School Renovation/Replacement –> 69%
- Edison High School Renovation/Replacement –> 66%
These assessments were completed a decade ago, and the underlying conditions (despite diligent maintenance) have not improved, meaning the ratios will only climb.
Furthermore, many of the changes we need to the buildings require more than can be done via renovation. For example, we cannot easily increase the footprint and physical size of our classrooms, or replace all the walls that impede our electrical wiring and capacity. Furthermore, our schools also lack standard security safeguards, those that no architect could anticipate needing to incorporate while designing these buildings 100 years ago. Additionally, these facilities are not handicap-accessible nor compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
6. What has been decided about the location of any new buildings?
Would new facilities be built in the same locations as the old ones?
The Facility Advisory Committee is tasked with reviewing information, discussing the various pros and cons of each Master Plan scenario, and deciding its recommendation to the Board of Education. No decision about which building plan to adopt has been made yet. As such, we aim to avoid speculation about whether there will be one campus or multiple campuses, the potential location(s), and the specific grade configurations of the buildings. These are ultimately conversations and decisions for the Facility Advisory Committee, and we anticipate they will come to these decisions by the end of April 2022.
7. How will a potential building plan be funded? Who pays for this?
In the State of Ohio, the cost of building school facilities is shared between the local community and the state itself. Currently, the Edison Local Schools’ state share is 27%. This means that the state of Ohio will pay 27% of the total cost of the project, with the remaining amount paid for with local funding. We have included the state share in terms of real dollars for the four options in the chart from Question #4.
The state share is based on Edison Local Schools’ eligibility ranking. Districts are ranked in terms of need from 1 to 609 each year by the Ohio Department of Education. Their formula is based on a three-year adjusted valuation per pupil, which relates largely to property wealth. The lowest wealth districts are served first. Edison Local Schools is currently ranked 418th.
8. Will the schools need another operating levy?
In due time, yes. Operating levies and capital projects (to build facilities) are funded through different mechanisms – but both are determined by community vote.
Edison Local Schools are in a solid financial position today, and we will remain so even if a bond issue is passed. The district has been diligent in making necessary cuts and maximizing its budget to meet the educational needs of its students. We are fortunate and grateful for the community’s support of our operating levies, including a substitute levy in May 2018 and a renewal in 2019.