For the third time in the past four years, voters in the Buckeye Valley Local School District will be faced with a multi-million dollar bond issue in November to improve elementary school facilities.
The district’s board of education on Tuesday voted unanimously to take the final step to place 30-year, 3.1-mill bond issue on the ballot.
“We’re excited to move into getting out there and talking to everyone about it,” said Superintendent Andy Miller.
If approved, the bond issue would pay for the construction of two new elementary buildings — one in Ashley and another at a to-be-determined location on the west side of the district — the purchase of land and the demolition of the three existing elementary facilities in Ashley, Ostrander and Radnor. The latter school closed in 2012 due to budget constraints.
“I’m hopeful this is the right direction and the community will support it,” Miller said.
According to Delaware County Auditor George Kaitsa, the bond issue, if approved by voters, would cost an additional $108.50 in property taxes annually on a property valued at $100,000.
Under the plan, fifth-grade students, who currently attend the middle school, would once again be back in an elementary setting, as they were before the closure of North Elementary in 2012.
At recent community forums, district residents also considered a $36.3 million plan to construct a new high school and move elementary students to the current middle school and a $29.3 million plan to build two new elementary buildings in Ashley and Ostrander.
District officials are hopeful that the plan will be supported by voters because it was crafted by dozens of districts residents through several community forums. Miller said he hopes the citizens who helped develop the plan will be the backbone of the campaign to pass the measure.
“We’re going to have to rely on the people that have been a part of the process,” he said. “At this point, those people are really in the know about how we came to this decision.”
The district’s newest elementary school was built in 1947, although additions have been made to each since that time. Maintenance and repair costs are starting to accumulate in the aging buildings that lack the infrastructure to handle all of today’s modern technology and air-conditioning.
District voters, however, have resoundingly rejected two consecutive bond issue proposals, one of which would have paid for the construction of a single facility on Coover Road and another that would have covered the cost to renovate the buildings in Ashley, Ostrander and Radnor.
The location of the district’s elementary buildings has been a tricky subject for years, but Miller said the latest plan is a compromise designed to served the population centers of the district.
“This plan is predicated on some compromise across the district,” he said.
Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.
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