After two stinging defeats at the polls in consecutive years, officials with the campaign charged to pass a bond measure in the Buckeye Valley Local School District are confident.
Joe Veneman, spokesman for Excellence for Buckeye Valley, said momentum is on the side of this bond issue because it was crafted by community members.
“This is the first time since I’ve lived in the district where a solution has come directly from the community,” he said.
The $31.3 million bond issue will pay for the construction of two new elementary facilities in the district, one in Ashley and another at a 31-acre site in Concord Township just west of State Route 257. The district has approved an option to purchase the land for about $465,000, but the purchase is contingent on the passage of the bond issue.
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. However, the net tax increase would actually be around $47 each year per $100,000 valuation due to the expiration of another bond issue in December.
“It’s a major bang for a moderate amount of bucks,” said Veneman.
The bond issue, if approved, also has the potential to save the district up to $200,000 a year on maintenance costs at its aging elementary facilities.
“That $200,000 a year, it’s a small part of our budget, but it’s a premium we are paying to send our kids to aging facilities,” said Veneman.
The new buildings will also allow the district to equip its buildings with the necessary infrastructure to handle modern technology and air conditioning, both of which are lacking in current elementary facilities.
“This is an opportunity to make a real difference for future generations of Buckeye Valley students,” said Veneman.
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 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 issues – one to build a new middle school and another to renovate the high school – have been approved over that time.
“I’m still cautiously optimistic,” said Tom Kaelber, president of the school board, despite the district’s recent struggles at the ballot.
Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.