With input from the community after months of dialogue and feedback, the Clark-Shawnee Board of Education unanimously voted to place a 5.25-mill levy on the November 8 ballot.
The levy will provide funding for renovations for Shawnee High School, grades 9-12, and the middle school, grades 7 and 8, within the facility and for construction of a new elementary building for a primary school, grades prekindergarten through 3, and an intermediate school, grades 4-6, within the facility at the southeast corner of Selma and Possum roads on land the district owns.
“Our elementary facilities have served this community well for more than 80 years, but they were never designed to meet the needs of a modern education,” Superintendent Gregg Morris said. “Our dedicated faculty and staff work hard to provide an excellent education to the students of Clark-Shawnee but it is becoming increasingly difficult and time-consuming to adapt these aging facilities to accommodate technology.”
Safety is also an issue with an old school facility with multiple corridors and entrances, and Possum and Reid School struggle with overcrowding.
“With our facilities and major systems such as heating, plumbing, and electricity approaching nearly 100 years old, the cost to keep the buildings running increases each year,” said Mr. Morris. “After a thorough evaluation of the buildings, experts estimated the cost of maintenance and repairs to reach nearly $20 million over the next 10 years.”
If approved, the proposed ballot issue would generate $37.2 million over 37 years and the state’s Ohio Schools Facilities Commission would contribute an additional $15.6 million, or about 30 percent of the cost through a funding partnership offered to Ohio schools called the Exceptional Needs Program. It would cost an additional $183.75 per year (or $15 per month) for the owner of a $100,000 home.
The OSFC gives districts 13 months to secure voter approval of a bond issue. After 13 months, the 30 percent funding match is no longer guaranteed, although funding may still be available in the future.
“Many of our surrounding districts have used this offer of OSFC to address facilities issues at a reduced cost to the community,” added Board President David DeHart. “Through our conversations with the community over the last few months, we have clearly heard that this is the time for our district to utilize state funding to improve technology and safety, reduce maintenance and repair spending, and ensure that Clark-Shawnee remains a leader in student success for years to come.”
School district leaders will continue to meet with the community to provide details on the plan and to answer any questions throughout the fall.