JACKSON-MILTON Officials will ask to borrow to build

The board would have to pay to have the bond issue put on the ballot.
NORTH JACKSON -- Jackson-Milton school district officials say they'll ask voters in May if they can borrow $11.9 million through a bond issue to pay for construction of a new school.
The school would be for pupils in grades six through 12, and it would replace the district's middle school/high school building, which was constructed in 1913.
"It served the community well, but it needs to be replaced," said Superintendent Buck Palmer, adding that the building's roof is failing and portions of the walls above some of the windows are falling apart. The cost of replacing the roof alone would be about $600,000, Palmer said.
Emergency meeting
In an emergency meeting Wednesday at an Ohio School Boards Association conference in Columbus, the school board voted 4-0 to approve preliminary plans for constructing the new school and renovating the district's elementary school, which was built in 1974. Board member Todd Carpenter was not available for the vote, Palmer said.
The project's total cost will be about $18.3 million, including $11.9 million to build the new school immediately east of the elementary school on Mahoning Avenue, Palmer said. The middle/high school building is on Mahoning Avenue about four miles east of the elementary school.
Palmer said the project will be discussed at the school board meeting next Thursday.
The bond issue's millage won't be set until December, but Palmer estimated that it would be slightly more than 5 mills. The bond issue length would be about 28 years, he said.
The school board would have to pay the Mahoning County Board of Elections to place the bond issue on the ballot as there is no primary election scheduled in Jackson or Milton townships in May. Palmer said the school board paid $13,000 for a special election it had in August.
Earlier issue failed
A 10.2-mill, 27-year bond issue to build a combined school for the districts failed by about 1,000 votes in 2002. Palmer said school officials feel most residents voted against that bond issue because residents didn't believe the elementary school needed to be replaced.
Before 2003, the middle school/high school building was only used by pupils in grades seven through 12. Sixth-graders went to the elementary school.
Palmer said the creation of the middle school was needed so school officials could focus on the educational and social needs of pupils in those grades.
By holding the vote on the preliminary plans in Columbus, the school board was able to immediately submit the plans to the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission for its approval, Palmer said.
If the bond issue passes and the plans are approved by the commission, the Jackson-Milton schools would take part in a commission program that calls for the state to reimburse the district for $4.7 million of the $18.3 million construction and renovation project in 2010 or 2011.
The commission is expected to vote on the plans next week, Palmer said.

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