Bond issue would build new Springfield school
By Ashley Luthern
Voters will decide the fate of a 2.5-mill bond issue for Springfield schools Nov. 6, which, if approved, would be used to build a new elementary school.
The total cost to replace the elementary school is about $12.3 million. About 48 percent, or $5.9 million, will be paid by the state through the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission’s Exceptional Needs Program. The remaining 52 percent, or $6.4 million, would be borrowed by the local district through the bond issue.
If approved, the bond issue would cost $76.26 annually for the owner of a home valued at $100,000.
The bond issue will be one ballot item that consists of a 2.0-mill bond for 37 years and a 0.5-mill additional levy for 23 years for maintenance of the new building.
The district was required by the state to include the additional maintenance levy to move forward with the bond issue, said Treasurer Edward Sobnosky.
The current elementary school sits on state Route 170 in New Middletown and houses more than 400 students in kindergarten through fourth grades. The wood-frame building was constructed in 1923, and the most recent addition was completed in 1989.
Five engineers from the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission visited the school and rated it as the seventh-worst building in the state, said Superintendent Debra Mettee.
“Our current elementary school looks good and clean, but the infrastructure is insufficient,” she said.
Some Springfield residents have said they are concerned because they felt the bond issue was rushed to the ballot, but Mettee said the district couldn’t help the timing.
The state “didn’t approve it into the program until the end of July, so we did have to act quickly to get it on the November ballot,” Mettee said.
“We felt like we should bring it to the voters now, because who knows with the state whether it will be offered in the future,” she added.
If approved, the new elementary school would be built farther south on state Route 170 and be part of the 26-acre campus that includes the high school, intermediate school and football stadium. The goal would be for the new elementary school to be ready for students for fall 2015, Mettee said.
In addition to up-to-date classrooms and facilities, a new building would allow for more security and provide space for all-day kindergarten Monday through Friday instead of every other day, she said.
Sobnosky said the budget for the new building includes the cost of demolishing the current elementary school.
“We still want to keep a presence in New Middletown and would consider moving soccer fields and other activities there,” he said.
A public meeting about the bond issue is set for 7 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Springfield Intermediate school auditorium.
In 2008, voters three times rejected a 7.1-mill combination bond issue/tax levy for new schools throughout the district.