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Austintown schools OK purchase of 2 properties



Published: Wed, July 21, 2010 @ 12:06 a.m.

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District looks to improve traffic flow, accessibility

By Elise Franco

efranco@vindy.com

Austintown

A $100,000 land purchase is meant to expand the Austintown Local School District’s campus and help ease traffic flow and road access.

Superintendent Vincent Colaluca said the school board voted Monday to purchase two residential properties — 4746 Woodhurst Ave. and 1185 Idaho Road — that likely will be used in part for a road-widening project on Idaho.

“When we look at the overall campus, there’s a definite need for road access,” he said. “We’re trying to make the campus more accessible off Idaho for drivers.”

In May, a 2.9-mill bond issue was approved by voters, securing the $27 million needed to fund the district’s portion of a $50 million school-construction project through the Ohio School Facilities Commission.

The plan will unify the district into one central campus on property near Watson Elementary and Frank Ohl Intermediate schools, Colaluca said. The two schools will house students in kindergarten through second grade and third to fifth grades, respectively.

Colaluca said the newly acquired properties cost about $50,000 each, and the money spent is from the district’s capital-improvement fund.

“We’re using capital-improvement money that the district has been saving over the years,” he said. “It’s been set aside for those types of improvements.”

Dr. David Ritchie, board president, said changes in traffic flow once the new buildings are erected proves a need for more land and wider roads.

“We feel that we need to have the traffic patterns changed somewhat,” he said. “We want to try to get Idaho Road widened to four lanes from the corner of Woodhurst Avenue and Bexley Drive down to the end of our property near Westchester Drive.”

Ritchie said the district is working with the township to apply for a grant that would cover the cost of that project.

Colaluca said the school district closed on the Woodhurst home, which was in foreclosure, Tuesday and is awaiting word on when the sale of the Idaho property can be finalized.

He said the Idaho Road property is a short sale, meaning the market price is less than what is still owed on the property.

“Fortunately for the district, we were able to look at the properties at a reasonable price because they’re short sale or foreclosure,” Colaluca said. “Any time you’re in a situation like that, though, there’s a lot of red-tape process to go through.”


Comments

1piwohio(56 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

"Superintendent Vincent Colaluca said the school board voted Monday to purchase two residential properties —

Colaluca said the school district closed on the Woodhurst home, which was in foreclosure, Tuesday and is awaiting word on when the sale of the Idaho property can be finalized.----"

Does anyone in Austintown see or read what I am reading. Voted on Monday, Closed on Tuesday and made the Wednesday paper. That has to be the fastest closing on a home I have ever heard. So here is my question: Can the board enter into contracts of this nature without notifing the taxpayers?? Just a question I do not know the answer to..

And I like the statement:" “We’re using capital-improvement money that the district has been saving over the years,” he said.

How much is saved and could we have voted a 2.0 mill if we have all this money in savings. I am sorry but it appears to be the same old board of past. And I voted for the schools for the record because I live and had two sons graduate from Austintown. I hang my head!!!!!

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2TB(1167 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

piw, they don't have to. It just occurs at BOE meetings. Start attending regularly and you'll see how it happens.

One concern I have is the neighborhoods surrounding. It's not really feasible to see a huge traffic increase in the area. Four lanes on Idaho also makes me wonder about the safety of kids.

Finally though, $100000 could have been spent elsewhere. This is a LOT of money to spend so that someone doesn't have to wait in line so long to pick up a kid or go to a football game.

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3wachinovia(5 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

piwohio - yes the board can act and enter into a contract without informing the "taxpayers".
They do it all the time. A board meeting is only for "information" only They have already acted on or decide on a course of action before the meetings. Most of the time they (the board) go on the recommendation of the superintendant. If they had that much and more in the capital improvement fund, why aren't they "improving" Fitch High School, or is that the "NEXT" school that needs to be replaced because of lack of repair and maintenance. Why wasn't this purchase diclosed before we voted in May. They knew that they wanted this land. Once again the board only lets the public know after the fact. How much of this new land will be used to widen the road and how much will it cost the taxpayers of Austintown. And why is the school having to provide this land along with the money to fund this "new project. Mis management of funds. they are like a kid in the candy store given free for all. Spend, spend, spend and worry later about running out of money. The taxpayers will bail them out again. Accountablity is what we need.

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4nipsy(133 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

The School building project is already costing the Austintown taxpayers more than ADVERTISED! I still can't believe that this thing passed, especially at a time like this in our country....Glad it isn't me paying this bill....Now I have to decide if I want to support a levy in Canfield...

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5piwohio(56 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Thank you for schooling me on the ways my money gets spent without me knowing. I understand spending money on yearly contracts if it is disclosed in the budget for the year. This is an 'extra" that they are doing. BOE purchasing the property to more than likely give to the township to widen the road and thus cost Austintown taxpayers money to complete and keep operational. So are we really spending money twice. Hiden money to purchase the property and then give it to the township, and the cost to keep it paved, plowed, ect... I just feel I have been decieved again by the BOE. Yes, I do not know the inter workings of the BOE, on me for that. But I am working to pay for all these hidden items so I can't attend.
Again, I wanted and was sold on the schools, but now I am looking to push a NO vote for anything else in Austintown and the county. I can only give so much. Were is the open and honest people of this township????

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