BV officials to take up land purchase Monday


Buckeye Valley officials hope to fill in the largest remaining blank on a $31.3 million bond issue on the Nov. 3 ballot at a special school board meeting early Monday.

Tom Kaelber, who leads the district’s school board, said he expects to approve a contract to purchase land to make way for a new elementary facility on the west side of the district.

“We have to hear from all the board members. That’s why we need an executive session first,” he said, before adding, “We would expect that (it will be) passed and adopted.”

Details of the land deal will not be available until the board approves the purchase, he said.

However, district officials have said they were looking at several potential sites on the west side of the school system’s boundaries.

The special meeting is slated for 7:30 a.m. at the district’s offices on Coover Road. The district will also hold an information night about the bond issue at 7 p.m. next Wednesday at the middle school cafeteria.

If approved by voters, the proposed 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.

According to Delaware County Auditor George Kaitsa, the bond issue, if approved, 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 say they hope the fact that community members helped craft the plan will lead to widespread community support.

Kaelber said he is “cautiously optimistic.”

“I’m always hopeful, and I’ve always been supportive,” he said. “But you just never know.”

District voters have defeated 15 of 18 tax issues on the ballot since 1990, including two bond issues to address the school system’s aging elementary facilities, 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.

Two bond measures – one to build a new middle school and another to renovate the high school – have been approved over that time.

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.

By Dustin Ensinger

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Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.

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