School officials refute bond opposition fliers

The new school would be built on Church Hill Road and East Liberty Street.
GIRARD -- Fliers in opposition to the 4.9-mill tax levy and bond issue to be voted on today have been hitting mailboxes across the city, but school officials say the information in them is misleading.
The fliers address a levy on the ballot for building a new combined middle school/high school. The project, worth a total of $22.6 million, will be split 24/76 with the state, with the proposed levy covering the 24 percent local share.
Mark Zuppo, school board president, said a half-mill will go toward maintenance of the building, 2.4 mills will go toward the building and 2 mills will go toward land acquisition. He said the school would be built on Church Hill Road and East Liberty Street.
Zuppo said the misinformation in the fliers is damaging to what he said is a much-needed project.
School board members called a press conference Monday -- one day before the special election -- to dispute the information. Board member Jamie DeVore said voters need to know the truth about the levy before they step into the voting booth today.
"These fliers that are going around are lies meant to influence a vote that will affect 3,000 students' lives," he said.
The fliers' claims
DeVore said the flier claims that $9 million has been spent on the high school over the last 10 years. He said the actual amount spent is closer to $5 million and that includes a new gym, computers and science labs.
DeVore said the flier claims the state, with the matching funds, will not pay for a gymnasium at the new building, leaving that cost to fall solely on taxpayers. He said the building plans actually call for two gymnasiums -- one for seventh- and eighth graders and another for ninth- through 12th-grade students.
The flier also claims the state, through matching funds, will not pay for an auditorium in the building. DeVore said this is partially true -- the plans call for a cafetorium, or cafeteria/auditorium combination, instead of a stand-alone auditorium.
Board members, DeVore said, also take issue with the fliers' claim the board will need another two levies before the project can be completed. He said the 4.9 mills is the only levy needed.
The fliers indicate that they were distributed by the Girard Parent League. Zuppo said school officials would like to know who the group's members are.
Zuppo said he hopes the levy passes despite the fliers. He said that with the state's matching funds, the project is too good to pass up. "The bottom line for the taxpayer is that there will never be a less-expensive time to do this," he said.

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