Published: Friday, November 10, 2006
Board votes to try levy in February
A board member said high voter turnout may have doomed the levy.
BY AMANDA GARRETT
NILES It didn't take the city school board long to decide whether to put a failed bond issue back before voters.
At a board meeting Thursday, the board unanimously approved putting the $26 million bond issue on the special election ballot in February. Niles voters rejected the issue by 536 votes Tuesday night.
The total 6.7-mill, 28-year bond issue and tax levy would have covered the local share of the cost for building three new schools co-funded with the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission.
The OSFC would have paid 68 percent of the nearly $55 million cost of the project, which calls for the construction of two elementaries and one high school where the old buildings are located.
The bond issue is the most cost-effective way to provide Niles pupils with new school buildings and updated technology, Superintendent Rocco Adduci said.
"This is an extraordinary opportunity to take advantage of state funds," Adduci said. "We would never, ever be able to build those buildings on our own. Even if we could manage to get the buildings up, we wouldn't be able to afford the new technology to go inside the buildings."
The board will approve the exact millage rate for the new bond issue at a special meeting at noon today.
Possible reason for defeat
High voter turnout may have been partially to blame for the bond issue's defeat, board member Robert L. Marino Sr. said.
"We had roughly 7,000 out of 11,000 eligible voters show up," he said. "You rarely see that happen in an election around here."
A district is approved for facilities commission funding when the cost of refurbishments to its schools is more than two-thirds the cost of building everything from scratch.
Once the district agrees to partner with the facilities commission, it has a year to pass a bond issue or lose the state money.
If the issue does not pass in February, the district has one more chance in the May primary to pass the bond issue, school officials said.