AUSTINTOWN SCHOOLS Board to put levy on ballot again

The bond issue would allow the school district to build a new junior high to replace Austintown Middle School.
AUSTINTOWN -- The board of education will once again ask voters if it can borrow $32 million to pay for construction of a new junior high school and renovation of Frank Ohl Middle School.
The board passed a resolution Monday asking the board of elections to place a 3.9-mill, 26-year bond issue on the May ballot to pay for the projects. A similar bond issue failed by less than 20 votes in November.
The resolution passed Monday was the second of two needed to place the issue on the ballot.
Superintendent Richard Denamen said that in coming weeks, the campaign committee will be meeting to discuss the November election results and determine a strategy for May.
"It's like losing a close ball game," Denamen said of the November election. "You can go back and look at any number of things."
Denamen said that in the future, he expects the campaign committee to work "just to get the message out."
He added that the campaign committee will accept new members.
If the bond issue passes, the board will use the $32 million to pay for construction of a new junior high school near Fitch High School. The junior high will replace Austintown Middle School, built in 1916 and in need of repair.
Renovation planned: The bond issue also would allow the board to renovate and expand Frank Ohl Middle School. More students would then be moved into the school and the district would be reorganized, creating space for all-day kindergarten classes.
Money from the bond issue also will count toward the school board's share of the master plan for the Austintown schools. The plan calls for the board to pay 61 percent of the estimated $72 million cost of bringing the schools up to state code. The state would pay the remaining 28 percent.

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