Poland school board decides against bond issue on August ballot
Board may go back to voters for approval later
By Sarah Lehr
The board of education announced Monday it will not place a facilities improvements bond issue on an August special election ballot.
Board President Richard Weaver read a brief statement, part of which said: “This decision will allow the board to continue the process of informing our community on the necessity of facility improvements as well as seeking input from our residents on a vision that can be supported.”
Though the measure will definitely not be on August’s ballot, Weaver said the board may or may not go back to voters for approval of the issue at a later time.
Last November, district voters soundly defeated a bond issue and tax levy that would have financed the construction of a new campus-style school.
The board indicated last month it would again seek approval via an August ballot for issuance of $28,265,910 in bonds, along with a 0.5-mill tax levy for maintenance of the proposed building. The reason cited at the time, according to Vindicator files, was the pending closure of a 13-month window in which the district would be eligible to receive funding from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission for 19 percent of the estimated cost.
Superintendent David Janofa said Monday that, while the window for the existing agreement with the OFCC will close, the district will have the opportunity to be reassessed for state funding. There is a risk, however, that reassessment would result in less than 19 percent from the OFCC, he added.
“There are just too many variables,” Janofa said. “It’s a very fluid situation, which is why it’s best that we don’t move forward right now.”
Janofa also said the cost of running a special election was a factor in the district’s decision against an August measure.
The board said last fall that, if the November 2015 bond issue were to pass, the district planned to build a new K-8 school and raze old, vacant school buildings “in a way that meaningfully preserves items and artifacts of historical significance.”
Officials said Monday that the district is not currently discussing tearing down old buildings, some of which are considered historic. The fate of those buildings will be subject to further consideration, Weaver and Janofa said.
Janofa said that while the district’s next step is unclear at this point – further assessment is needed, he said – it is clear that physical facility issues need to be fixed.
“Our problem hasn’t gone away,” Janofa said. “The voters told us very clearly in November what they didn’t want. Now, we need our residents to tell us what they do want.”