Published: Friday, November 17, 2006
Bond issues will return to ballot, board states
It will cost the district $16,000 to put the issues on the February ballot.
By TIM YOVICH
NILES The board of education will place bond issues before voters as many times as it is allowed in order to generate money to construct three new school buildings.
Last week, voters rejected by 536 votes a total of 6.7 mills in two bond issues to raise $26 million to replace the high school and two elementary schools and construct a sports complex.
"I will give voters three chances," board member Wanda Burns said during Thursday's board meeting.
Voters turned down the first bond issue to raise $17.8 million as the local share for the new buildings. The Ohio Schools Facilities Commission would provide 68 percent, or $38 million, of the total cost of the $55 million project.
They also turned down a second bond issue to generate $8.1 million to renovate the football stadium, construct a new track and buy property to make way for the new high school.
The issues will be placed again before voters during a special election Feb. 6.
Superintendent Rocco Adduci said the board has a responsibility to place the issue before voters three times in a year and lobby for a fourth ballot try if the bond issues to build the schools fail.
Adduci said there is a responsibility to those who voted for the issues to place it on the ballot and to those who voted against it in an effort to allow them the opportunity to change their minds.
Board member Susan Giannetti Longacre agreed the issues must be placed again before voters.
"Our community is only as good as its schools. We'll pass it for the children, and this is what this is all about," Longacre asserted.
Board President Marlene Rhodes said the board was facing a Nov. 24 deadline to get the issues on the special ballot.
Asked if the board would consider eliminating the 2.1-mill issue for the sports complex, Rhodes said that will be evaluated, depending on voter attitudes.
District Treasurer Linda Molinaro said the special ballot will cost the district about $16,000 and will be paid out of the general fund that currently has a $3 million balance.
The board has purchased three properties around the high school to make way for the new construction.
Ginger Hamilton of Franklin Street near the school said she won't sell her home.
Molinaro told Hamilton that if the levies are finally rejected, the three houses most likely will be razed.
Lydia Infante of North Main Street suggested the board wait until the May primary ballot to put the issues before voters so the $16,000 can be saved.
She said parents of athletes and not the senior citizens should pay for the athletic upgrades.
"A new building isn't going to make better students," Infante insisted.
Kathy Wiltrout of Summit Avenue expressed concern for homeowners' losing their homes, noting she doesn't know if she would be willing to sell her house if it were near the high school.