CHICAGO - The Cincinnati Public School District is considering placing a $348 million general obligation bond issue on the Nov. 2 ballot to help finance school building improvements projects.

Monica Curtis, director of public information for the school district, said that the bond issue would finance most of a $393 million improvement plan proposed last month by Superintendent J. Michael Brandt. The remaining funds would come from the district's operating funds.

Curtis said the plan would provide the "bare necessities" at 137 buildings at 85 sites over three to five years. The Board of Education is expected to vote on Aug. 16 whether to place the issue on the ballot, she added.

"The plan would provide basic needs." Curtis said. "We're not doing anything fancy or frilly."

Curtis was optimistic that the board would approve the plan.

"There is sentiment on the board from all angles that our schools really need the work," Curtis said.

If the bond issue is placed on the ballot and approved by voters, the bonds would most likely be sold in several installments, according to Lynn Goodwin, an associate with Seasongood & Mayer in Cincinnati, which has worked on the plan with the district.

Though an assessment this year identified $600 million of needed improvements, school officials decided to address only the most pressing projects in devising the $393 million improvement plan.

Under the plan, the district would improve technology in the city's schools and repair or replace 4,600 doors, 1.9 million square feet of ceilings, 21,000 windows, 55 acres of asphalt paving, 2.3 million square feet of roofing, and 236 miles of piping, among other things.

The school district has approximately $13 million of outstanding unlimited tax go debt rated AA-minus by Standard & Poor's Corp. The district also has about $8 million of limited tax GO debt rated A-plus.

Diane Brosen, as associate director at Standard & Poor's, said it is too early to comment on the potential impact that the bond issue, if passed, could have on the school district's finances.

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