The Tipp City Schools Board of Education asked district Treasurer David Stevens to obtain numbers from the county auditor on the amount of millage needed for two tax levies – to build a prekindergarten through third grade building and a stadium project - during a board meeting Sept. 17.
The board was not unanimous in making the request for the amount of millage to generate $5 million for a new stadium. Nor, did members agree on whether the district should ask voters to consider two tax issues in the same election next March.
The board said it would discuss the tax proposals further at its Sept. 28 meeting.
Superintendent Gretta Kumpf made it clear she did not favor two tax issues on the same ballot. She pointed out private funds will pay for two new area athletic stadiums for Chaminade Julienne and Oakwood schools.
Although she said she realizes the need for new stadium exists, Kumpf said the instructional space is “paramount.’
‘I am uncomfortable with both of them being on the March ballot,” Kumpf said. “I don’t want to distract from the instruction piece, but it’s a board decision.”
At the meeting, the board heard from architect Mike Ruetschle about more details on the proposed prekindergarten through grade three building that would be constructed on the site of Broadway Elementary/Tipp Central.
Ruetschle said behind the scene preparations of building plans is under way so details are available if the board agrees to a March vote on the new school. Plans include 200 students at each grade level with enough classrooms and other rooms to accommodate needs at around 100,000 square feet.
That size “allows us to keep our classes at our comfort level,” Kumpf said.
At this point the new school millage estimate is just under 4 mills, Stevens said. The estimate for a stadium was 0.7 mill.
Following the new school discussion, board President Tom Merritt asked the board to consider comments from residents at the August board meeting about the stadium condition.
“If it were up to me, I would like to see it sooner rather than later,” Merritt said of a stadium project.
“After the last three years, I am worried about safety,” board member Scott Dixon said.
Dixon said he would contact boosters, alumni and others before year’s end about the potential stadium locations at City Park or by the high school, and ask them what location they prefer. He said that effort hopefully would provide strong data on opinions versus the district paying for another survey of residents. That information then could be used by the board to recommend a location to the new board taking office in January.
“I think it makes sense. I want the voters to decide the issues, not the board,” Dixon said. He, Merritt and Kate Johnsen are not seeking reelection to their board seats in November.
Board member Frank Maus said the stadium is the number one topic he heard comments on from district residents. Johnsen said the stadium is not just for athletics but band and other activities.
Board member Carla Frame said she would not support putting the stadium question on the March ballot. She questioned how the district could run two levy campaigns effectively.
“I think we need to do the building first and then look at what we will do with the stadium,” Frame said.
Dixon said he thinks an athletic facility proposal would draw a lot of support.
“We need to do the building first, and then look at what we are doing with the stadium,” Frame said.
“As far as an ala cart issue, I think we need to proceed forward with the stadium…It seems like its always been pushed off. Let’s get the input of the voters,” board member Frank Maus said.