Streetsboro -- With a bond issue on the November ballot to help pay for new school buildings in the district, school leaders strongly believe there is a definite need for new and renovated facilities.
"Renovation of some of our school buildings, as well as building a new high school, will address many of the challenges the district faces with respect to its facilities," said School Board President Denise Baba. "Currently, several of our school buildings are at capacity. We simply need more space. Our student population is growing. In addition, we need to update some of our facilities to meet the needs of today's students. The way education is delivered has changed, and we need to adapt to those changes. New curriculum standards and high stakes testing being implemented by the state are factors in our need to enhance how we help our children learn."
Voters will decide on a combined bond issue and permanent improvement levy totaling 5.06 mills on the November ballot that would pay for the construction and upgrading of the district schools.
Baba said a new high school would provide a better environment for teaching and learning.
"It would also be more energy efficient, and provide the latest security features to protect students and staff," she said. "It would offer greater technological benefits than are currently available to our student population."
Andrew Lesak, School Board vice president, said when School Board members took their annual building tour in August, "it became more evident why new school buildings are needed."
"We've needed a bigger high school for a long time," Lesak said. "We have four trailers [for extra classroom space] at the back of the high school. Obviously, we need more room."
Lesak said after he toured Wait Primary School, he realized its particularly full.
"It's just bulging with students," he said. "They needed another room for first graders, so the teachers' lounge had to move to the stage."
Henry Defer Intermediate School is also "bulging," Lesak said. Moving sixth-graders to the middle school will help relieve crowding there, he said.
All the buildings in the Streetsboro school district can be rebuilt or upgraded using state money to pay for 35 percent -- more than $24 million -- of the $68.7 million facilities master plan, some of which is already completed.
"We need to do our part locally," said Baba. "In order to obtain the state money, Streetsboro voters need to approve the bond issue on the November ballot."
The Board of Education unanimously voted July 11 to place an issue on the November ballot, which includes a 4.56-mill bond issue and a .5-mill permanent improvement levy. The bond would raise $38.7 million to upgrade the district's school buildings, while the .5-mill levy would raise an additional $210,741 annually.
Including the .5-mill permanent improvement levy is required by state law, according to Superintendent Michael Daulbaugh. These are on the ballot as a single issue.
The owner of a $100,000 home would have to pay $177.10 for the bond issue and levy combined, Treasurer Catherine Rouse said.
Baba said the district can't afford to miss out on the state money.
"Money from the bond issue combined with dollars being offered by the state will greatly benefit our students, the district and the city," Baba said. "This is really a great opportunity. To have the state kick in 35 percent of the cost to renovate buildings and help build a new high school is extraordinary."
Lesak said the reason the state is providing 35 percent of the construction costs "is because we need it. We've needed it for a long time. In each building, you could see the needs that we have."
Lesak said there is a dramatic increase in students' performances when they're in new school buildings.
"With a new building, there can be anywhere from a 5 percent to 25 percent increase in student performance simply because of what changed in the new building -- the facilities, the air, the technology," Lesak said. "The students deserve to have the opportunity to have their performance increase."
School Board member Brian Violi said another advantage would be air conditioned buildings in the schools.
Only Henry Defer Intermediate School has air conditioning throughout the building.
"An air conditioned building that has proper ventilation will produce better air quality," Violi said. "The students and employees will be in their classrooms more frequently [and won't be out sick as often]. There are many benefits to having air conditioning. When I went to school, we didn't have it. It does make a difference. It's not just the temperature of the room, it's the quality of the air."
School Board member Kevin Grimm said including air conditioning is a prerequisite to getting the state funding.
"Some people may think air conditioning is a luxury, but it's required by the state," he said. "We don't have a choice."
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