Streetsboro -- To explain Issue 22 and the school district's school facilities plan better, Superintendent Michael Daulbaugh, School Board President Denise Baba and resident Anthony Madden took to the airwaves Oct. 24.
Hosted by WSTB 88.9 FM General Manager Bob Long, who's also a teacher at Streetsboro High School, the trio discussed the $38.7 million bond issue and addressed questions texted in to Long for an hour that night.
Streetsboro High School TV Production teacher Tom Fesemeyer said the question and answer session will be aired daily at 8 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Time-Warner's Channel 16 through Nov. 4. It should also be posted at www.streetsboroschools.net.
Daulbaugh started by outlining the facilities plan and bond issue.
Issue 22 includes a 4.56-mill bond issue to build and renovate the district's buildings and a .5-mill permanent improvement levy, which he said would help the district build and maintain its new and renovated facilities in the event of passage.
Daulbaugh said the cost of Issue 22 to the owner of a $100,000 home would be $177 per year.
The money would be used to build a new Streetsboro High School, renovate the existing high school for grades 6-8 and expand Campus Elementary School for preschool through third-graders. Only Henry Defer Intermediate School, which would house fourth- and fifth-graders, would be unaffected by the plan, which also calls for closing Streetsboro Middle School and Wait Primary School to students.
Martin Fleming and Ed Lupton, who are both registered individually as political action committees and oppose passage of Issue 22, said they would rather the new high school be built on land behind Campus Elementary School and the existing high school.
"I just think they have enough land to build what they need if they realize they have to build up instead of sprawling all over the countryside," said Lupton, adding the new high school should be a multi-story building.
School Board President Denise Baba said 35 percent or $24 million of the master plan will be paid for by the state.
"There are many school districts that are getting nowhere near that percentage to help with the renovations of their school districts," she said.
Baba said the district should act fast to claim the money, given the current climate in Columbus, which seems to lean more toward cutting programs than adding funding to programs like the Ohio Families Construction Commission.
"With changes going on in Columbus, with the current administration, we're not sure that pot of money is always going to be there," she said. "We can't assume that's always going to be there."
Madden said the district can't delay any longer.
"Our schools were antiquated 15 years ago," he said. "We don't have time. If this doesn't pass and we have to wait for the next election, there may not be $24 million on the table."
Daulbaugh said there are several options for Wait Primary School if its students move to Campus Elementary School.
"We could keep it and use it for a non-educational use, but we'd first have to abate all the asbestos in it," he said earlier.
The district also could abate the asbestos in the facility and sell it, probably for a commercial use, but he said abating asbestos is potentially a "huge cost."
The third option, he said, is to demolish Wait Primary School and sell the property, which he said "could be a pretty valuable piece of real estate."
To help shorten bus rides, the district has discussed the possibility of acquiring land between the current high school and Route 14 through St. Joan of Arc Parish property where it could build a drive between the campus and new high school site, according to Daulbaugh.
"That's something we have considered, but we don't own that land," he said. "We would have to acquire land not only from St. Joan but from one or two residents."
He called the connecting drive "a possibility."
"There are lots of configurations that could get a drive from Route 14 to Kirby Lane," he said.
If the bond issue is passed, it would take three or four years before the master plan construction is completed, said Daulbaugh.
The first thing the district would do is enter a design process, soliciting input from teachers, staff, students and community members into the design of the new and renovated buildings.
Following the design phase, he said the district would likely begin working on the new high school and addition to Campus Elementary School.
Madden, a real estate agent, talked about the effect new school facilities would have on property values.
"Pure greed should drive you to vote yes on this issue," he said. "The real estate values always trend higher with cities and school systems that perform better and have better facilities."
Baba said it's possible the effective rate of the tax could decrease life of the bond. A bond issue brings in a set amount of money, she explained, and, as more residents move into the city, that burden gets spread around to more people, lowering the effective millage of the bond.
She said School Board member Andrew Lesak conducted a study of his own Streetsboro property taxes over 10 years.
"Over the last decade, they've actually decreased," she said.
Fleming said passage of the issue could have the opposite effect and drive people out of town.
"If I wind up with a lot of vacant houses, that $177 could be $250 or $300," he said, referring to the cost per year for the owner of a $100,000 home.
He and Lupton both said the levy would be too much money for some Streetsboro families.
"Seven hundred kids are on the free- and reduced-lunch program," said Fleming. "They belong to homeowners." He said additional property taxes would be an insurmountable burden for families and seniors in town, who live off Social Security and little more.
The show also received a question asking how the district would cope with the smell and dust from the sand and gravel operation nearby on Route 14.
Baba said that question would be answered in greater detail during the design phase, but said landscaping and distance could be used to minimize the effects of the sand and gravel operation.
"Because we have 60 acres there, that gives us some flexibility as to where the building should be placed," she said. She also said students indoors shouldn't be exposed to the sounds and smells of the operation.
FB: The Gateway News/Bob Gaetjens