Springfield school officials push for passage of bondSFlb

By Ashley Luthern



Passage of a bond issue next month would allow Springfield schools to achieve one of its long-term strategic goals of replacing its elementary school, officials say.

The board of education and school administrators addressed about 30 people Wednesday night during a community meeting about a 2.5-mill bond issue that would generate part of the funds for a $12.3 million new kindergarten-through-fourth-grade school.

Fifty-two percent, or $6.4 million, would be borrowed by the local district through the bond issue, and the remaining 48 percent, or $5.9 million, would be paid by the state through the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission’s Exceptional Needs Program.

The bond issue would cost $76.26 annually for the owner of a home valued at $100,000.

“That [state money] is our tax money. Let’s bring that money back here while we can,” said board President Kathy Lipp.

In 2008, voters three times rejected a 7.1-mill combination bond issue/tax levy for new schools throughout the district.

“We heard loud and clear that we don’t want all new schools,” said board member Jon Schoenike.

Schoenike said through community meetings, the district created a strategic plan with the main goal of fiscal stability and a long-term goal of a new K-4 building.

He said the district has remained fiscally responsible, pointing out that some Mahoning County school districts have cut busing and teachers, and some school boards have discord among members.

“It’s not that way here,” he said.

The board showed pictures of deteriorating conditions at the wood-frame elementary school on state Route 170 in New Middletown, which was built in 1923. One resident asked what happens if the bond issue is not approved before the state’s July 2013 deadline for Springfield to secure local funding.

Treasurer Edward Sobnosky said some repairs will be made immediately, and the money for that would come out of operating or permanent-improvement funds. The permanent-improvement fund is used to pay for items such as new school buses.

“You’re taking money from somewhere else, but these issues [at the elementary] have to be addressed,” Sobnosky said.

Others residents questioned the proposal of moving the elementary school from New Middletown to the other side of the intermediate school parking lot.

Lipp said the board is willing to discuss the new building’s location more in-depth once the bond issue is approved.

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