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Mathews board to ask voters to OK $24.7M bond issue

Published: Thu, January 16, 2014 @ 12:03 a.m.

By Jordan Cohen



The Mathews Board of Education will ask voters in the May 6 primary election to approve a $24.7 million bond issue to finance a kindergarten-through-12th-grade building that would replace the district’s aging three schools. The building’s total cost is projected at nearly $30 million.

It is the second time the board has sought voter approval for a new school. In 2009, a $22 million issue for a one-building school district was rejected by 59 percent of the voters.

“The need was great then, and it’s even greater now,” said Superintendent Lewis Lowery after the board’s unanimous vote Wednesday.

The building housing the high school and junior high will be 100 years old next year. The two elementary schools, Baker and Currie, were constructed in the 1960s. Plans call for demolition of all three buildings.

Lowery, who was not superintendent in 2009, said the local share has increased because the Ohio School Facilities Commission has been cutting the state contribution for the last few years. The OSFC share for the Mathews project is $5.6 million.

“The state share is less now and construction costs are still going up,” the superintendent said.

Lowery said the county auditor will determine the amount of the property tax millage to finance the issue this month. While the superintendent would not speculate on the figure, the millage is expected to exceed the 8.1 mills that would have financed the 2009 project.

The board has scheduled a special meeting for Jan. 29 to act on the final reading of the resolution, which will contain the millage amount.

According to Lowery, state law also requires the board to enact an additional 0.5 mills to finance such costs as renovation, acquisition and permanent improvements. Lowery said some of the costs include construction of a new roadway and purchase of a baseball field by the site. The board resolution estimates the costs, referred to as “locally funded initiatives,” at nearly $749,000. The figure is included in the local share.

Ken Wallace, a board member in 2009 and now board president, said he believes the district has a much better opportunity to pass the bond issue than it did five years ago. He noted district voters approved an additional operating levy and a renewal last year.

“We’ve got the team in place that helped pass those levies [and they] represent a good cross-section of the district,” Wallace said.

Last fall, the board hired Architectural Vision Group of Westlake as lead architects for the project.


1billdog1(5586 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

I live in Vienna, and I say NO. Encase you didn't hear that, I said, NO. My taxes are already high enough. Figure another way. I just can't afford any more. My home is paid for and I give over $100/month for woods that I own along with my home. Stop this madness. I just have NO MORE TO GIVE.

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2GenevaAnderson(1 comment)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

No! No! No! There is no way I will ever vote for this and I am sure I'm not alone. And now to learn they want to run a roadway through our families farm??? MY family make their only living in that farm...just as they have for over 100 years. I am so angry that not only do they want to hike our taxes for this BS, now they want to ruin our land. Makes me sick. I've loved our town but this is BS. I had to pull my kid from the school because the teachers are so lazy they don't even teach. My blood is boiling at my taxes going up to fund this!

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3Sparafucile35(3 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

The levy they "successfully passed" passed by barely 56%. That does not reflect overwhelming support for the school. While most of the community will agree that Mathews needs a new facility, those same people will claim that Mathews does not deserve a new school. 30+ years of then-sitting school board shenanigans, including several previous attempts at a new school failing due to squabbles over location, have left the residents of Fowler and Vienna with a bad taste in their mouths. The recent passing of not one, but two levies at the last election has left many residents asking where all the money is going. Also, the recent dedication of the school gym to a teacher of "questionable" ethics has further enflamed the situation. (It should be noted though, said dedication was not the decision of the school board, but of the Athletic Boosters.)

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4Philo(99 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

If the good Lord suddenly placed you in charge of education in Ohio, I'm fairly certain no one in their right mind would have 612 school districts like we have now. The citizens of Youngstown are paying for three brand new buildings that are actually closed down due to low enrollment. Many of the other districts who constructed new buildings find that they can't afford to operate them. The Fowler Vienna school district doesn't need new facilities; they need to merge with another district or districts. The area population is on the decline and there is no reason Fowler Vienna kids couldn't be sent to Howland, Brookfield, Liberty & Cortland. Everyone seems to want local control until they have to pay for it. I believe districts need to be consolidated to take advantage of the facilities that already exist and gain economies of scale.

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5billdog1(5586 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

I've been saying the same for a long time Phil. Communities need to start working together for the betterment of their citizens. Spot the madness.

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