Officials take step to get levy on ballot

Land selection will make voters more comfortable with the plan, the superintendent said.
GIRARD -- Girard school officials will again ask voters to approve a tax levy for the purpose of constructing a new junior and senior high school in conjunction with the state.
Superintendent Joseph Jeswald said members of the school board approved a resolution to declaring the necessity of placing the issue on the ballot in May. The resolution will be sent to the county auditor so that the needed millage can be determined, then the board will send the information to the county board of elections.
The school board tried to pass a similar levy in 2005 under the Ohio School Facilities Commission program, but that was rejected by voters. The current potential building project will also fall under the Ohio School Facilities Commission program with the state paying 80 percent of the total costs, Jeswald said.
The 2005 levy included a 2.4-mill bond issue to borrow 5,441,000, the local share of school construction under the Ohio School Facilities Commission program, over 28 years. The junior-senior building would have been for those in grades seven to 12, and the current school on North Ward Avenue would have been demolished. The state was set to pay more than 21 million for the project.
Other issues
The board also asked for an additional 0.5-mill levy for 23 years to pay the cost of maintaining the classroom facilities included in the project. This would raise 1.6 million to maintain the school and is a state school facilities commission requirement.
There was also a 2-mill bond issue loan to pay the 4,559,000 costs of acquiring, improving and equipping real estate for school purposes to be repaid over 28 years. This was to be used to buy the 117-acre Mahoning Country Club on East Liberty Street and Church Hill Road, something that drew criticism from some city residents. The state doesn't give schools money to buy property.
Jeswald said voters will likely be more receptive to the board's current plans because they have selected a new location for the building project. He said details of the new location could not be disclosed because the purchase has not been finalized.
"Location is the major difference," he said. "Last time the cost was 4.5 million to purchase the land. This time it's a lot less than 4.5 million. Secondly, it's undeveloped land."

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