Poland school board: No levy on March ballot

By Jordyn Grzelewski



School board members, at a work session Monday night, distilled a few takeaways from the failure in the general election of a ballot measure that asked voters to authorize a $28.3 million bond issue and accompanying tax levies to build a new school.

Sixty-two percent of Poland voters voted against the proposal.

No action was taken and agreement was not reached on any issues, but school board members seemed to reach a consensus on two points: that a plan to build a new school is the right path for the district to take, and that the March primary election is too soon to bring the issue back to voters.

The conundrum that school district officials continuously reiterated at the session is this: While voters might be more inclined to approve a different measure – such as a permanent-improvement levy to raise funds for the millions of dollars worth of repairs needed at current school buildings – district officials firmly believe that would be the wrong course of action.

“For us to have decades of sustainability and financial stability, that is not the right thing to do,” said Superintendent David Janofa of the permanent-improvement levy option. “There’s not a plan that we’ve looked at that is less expensive than what just got voted down.”

At issue, school district officials say, is the need for major infrastructure repairs at all school buildings.

If the bond issue had passed, the district would have proceeded with a plan to demolish old buildings and build – in partnership with a state commission that would pay 19 percent of the roughly $35 million cost – a new K-8th-grade campus-style school.

Now, the board must choose from a handful of options that are: bring the original proposal back to voters in March; bring the issue back at a later date, such as during a special election; or abandon the new-school proposal and plan to renovate the buildings.

The school district has until November 2016 before the option of the state partnership with a 19 percent share is taken off the table.

What school district officials want to find out so they know how best to retool their plan, they said, is why people voted no. To that end, Janofa plans to look into sending out a survey.

The school board will further discuss the issue at a meeting at 7 p.m. next Monday at the township government building.

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