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Austintown should not demolish ‘well constructed’ Fitch High

Published: Thu, February 13, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

Austintown should not demolish ‘well constructed’ Fitch High

The Austintown taxpayer community — especially the Austintown homeowner — needs to voice displeasure with schools Superintendent Vince Colaluca and the five members of the Austintown Board of Education over their decision to place another school levy on the May 2014 primary for a new high school.

There is nothing in dire need outside of yearly and daily maintenance with the present high school that would warrant destroying the well constructed, valuable high school.

In addition, all of Austintown school board meetings are routinely held every third Tuesday of each month. I believe a recent “special meeting” was conducted on a Wednesday for the prime reason not to have any representation and/or knowledge of the people of Austintown or a discussion before the levy proposal was submitted to the Board of Elections.

If Superintendent Colaluca continues to defy the necessity of such super expense with the Austintown community, then a measure needs to be instituted that this superintendent and any future Austintown superintendent needs to reside in Austintown so that he would pay the Austintown school taxes in the same manner as everyone in Austintown.

His prime reason for replacing Fitch High School is that it is “50 years old.” Well, then most all of the houses within a 5-mile radius of this school property need to be destroyed for they are over 50 years old. Generally, a homeowner does not destroy his present house to modernize but to make the necessary modernization and/or remodeling as the “funds are available.”

They fail to view the pages in the Youngstown Vindicator with the listing of “delinquent taxes” owed by the Austintown community. That alone should be their basic thinking before making any decision on any unnecessary levies and/or additional school levies for the Austintown homeowner.

Finally, if the state of Ohio does not have the money or funds to share with the public needs such as road construction and/or modernization of Ohio, how are they able to provide 47 percent of the cost to build a new school? Also, there are limits that Ohio states in providing any school funds. They can’t be used for an auditorium or gymnasium, for example.

This additional school levy needs to be withdrawn by the Austintown Board of Education. Just make the necessary improvements to the roof, install a new furnace, and maybe add onto the side of the school at the western portion. In short, I believe the present Austintown High School is solidly built, but it just needs a normal daily and yearly maintenance program without any additional school taxes.

Neil D. Frasca, Austintown


1seventotal(17 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago


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2jeffq(2 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

A new roof and furnace may be doable, but the need to completely rewire and reconfigure the building for modern technology is probably too expensive to do for the existing building. On the other hand, Mr. Frasca makes a solid case for the economic difficulty of the project. We'll have to choose between tightening belts to intolerable levels, or giving our kids an inadquate education to function in the modern world. The opportunity of having the funds matched for a limited time makes it that much more challenging a decision.

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3THIRTYSFORD(14 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

We, the residents and students of Austintown, Do NOT need a new High School! Fitch is in very good condition and needs only repairs to be 100%. The boilers have been replaced a few years back, but the uni-vents are old and need repaired or replaced. Also, the building does need a new roof. As for modern technology, it's in there. All classrooms and offices have computers, and flat screen TVs. There are multiple "Computer Labs and Classrooms" up and running for several years. The building is well built and in great structural condition. It was built in 1968 and is quite new compared to most other school buildings in NE Ohio. Instead of tearing down the old and replacing it at a cost of over $60 Million, let's repair and replace the Uni-vents and Roof, at a grand total not exceeding $10 million.
By The Way, The State of Ohio will not match the funds to build this "new" building. Matching means 50%. Ask Vince for the True numbers, not the BS he spreads.

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4Busdriver42(16 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

Here is my thought, when I need a new roof I don't tear my house down, I put on a new roof. As far as matching funds here is something to think about. If someone offers you a 5 million dollar mansion, you can't sell it, you have to live in it and can't rent it out for profit, you have to maintain it, you have to pay all taxes and insurance on it. Would you except it? No, because 90 % of us couldn't afford the upkeep. The same here they can't afford it, we can't afford it, but they want it!!!VOTE NO

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5lajoci(591 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

A quiet reminder to those residents of Austintown who seem to think that there is some sort of comparison to be made between building and maintaining one's private residence vs. building and maintaining a public school:

The two are comparable only in the sense that they are both buildings, with plumbing and electrics and foundations, etc., that one would normally expect in such a structure.

To extrapolate the demolition of private residences after 50 years of use from the demolition of a public building such as a school is to completely and irresponsibly misstate the purpose of a public school.

One writer went so far as to claim that Fitch is "quite new compared to most other schools in NE Ohio," citing that Fitch was built in 1968.


1968 was 46 years ago! We are light-years from 1968 technologically speaking! The technological configuration of public buildings from 46 years ago is woefully behind the times. It is only because of the ingenuity and diligence of the professionals working in them that they are made "workable" given the state of today's technology.

And we haven't even touched on asbestos issues!

You don't want to pay any more taxes for something you're too old to use? I get that.

But please be honest! Don't pretend that it's because the old building is good enough, because it's not.

(By the way -- the district needs to sell this project by emphasizing the way the ENTIRE community will benefit, so that the grumblings of the grouchy "ancient" ones will be mitigated, if not silenced. There is more to every community than the grousing grumblings of the old ones.)

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6THIRTYSFORD(14 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

Here is a website that is devoted to saving Ohio's Schools. Please Read and get informed! BTW, Fitch already has up to date technology. The Superintendent Vince Colaluca and the BOE have been neglecting repairs and renovations at Fitch for many years and is only in the shape it is in because of their decisions. http://renovateohioschools.wordpress....

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7dontbeafool(1390 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

Why is it that people think that you need the latest available technology to be able to learn? I graduated in the late 80's and we didn't even have computers, and my school was over 100 years old. I was still given a quality education. Kids do not need individual lap tops or Ipads to learn. If you ask me, it is just a fancy trend to be high tech. Is is nice for the kids, sure, but it isn't NEEDED. @Lajoci, I usually side with you, but people are TAXED OUT! I'm sure the residents would love for their community to have the best of the best, but people are struggling to manage their own budgets right now. My kids often have the same attitude, "Dad, I need this, I need that." No, you WANT this and that, you don't NEED it. This whole generation has this don't fix it, just buy a new one mentality.

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8lajoci(591 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

@dontbeafool: Think of a new school as up-dating the community, the way one updates one's home; think of it not as something for the kids, but something for you, yourself, because it is for you -- one of the prime ways home-buyers and home-builders judge the desirability of your community, and in that sense it directly affects the value of what is probably your biggest asset, your home.

When you vote for community improvements, such as new schools, you vote for things for yourself, to protect the expensive assets you've invested time and money in over the years.

A "Yes!" vote for a new local public school is a "Yes!" vote for yourself.

So, forget about "doing it for the kids;" do it for yourself. Exercise a little enlightened self-interest for a change, instead of reverting to self-sabotage.

Do yourself a favor -- build a new school in your community.

While you're at it, get involved in the planning stage to see that it becomes the center of your community that it could be.

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9truthbtold2u(4 comments)posted 1 year, 3 months ago

Some great comments here!! But it might just pass, so PLEASE be diligent with this issue!!! Keep informing neighbors, etc. And if you have to, offer rides to the elderly ~ or anyone else who doesn't drive or have a car~ to get them to the polls!!! VOTE NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Depending on wording, of course!)

And it just kills me how some people think 46 years old for a building is old! That is YOUNG for a building!!! If it's truly in that bad of shape, then shame on us for not taking care of it!!!!!! What a wasteful sin!!!!! All we are teaching our kids is how to be wasteful!!!

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