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District will have meetings on levy

SOUTH POINT – School district officials will receive final approval to campaign for monies to help fund a school building project today.

Tuesday, August 10, 1999

SOUTH POINT – School district officials will receive final approval to campaign for monies to help fund a school building project today.

The state Controlling Board announced Monday that they approved the release of more than $620 million for school building projects in 45 districts around the state.

The only district in Lawrence County to receive funds, the South Point School District will get $23.4 million if the district passes a property tax levy to raise about $7.1 million as the community’s local match, said Glen Seagraves, South Point Board of Education president.

The money will be used to build a new high school and consolidated elementary, as well as to renovate the current high school into a middle school, Seagraves said.

But the new schools will not be possible without the community’s support, he added.

"We have meetings scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday and on Aug. 17 at the middle school," Seagraves said. "We have to get the paperwork ready to put this on the ballot. We have to get this taken care of. Also, at these meetings, we’re inviting the public in. We want them to know what’s going on as we know it."

South Point schools have always encouraged public participation, Seagraves said.

"This is their school system and their tax money," he said. "We hope that everyone who is concerned will come to these meetings and we’ll share our thoughts with them. New schools might not be an emergency thing right now, but if we don’t take care of it, we will need our schools repaired within the next five years and this is our opportunity to do that."

The South Point School District does not own property, however, that is suitable for construction of the new schools, Seagraves added.

And that is just one of the things school officials would like to discuss with the community, he said.

"We’ve made contacts and appraisals on one piece of property," Seagraves said. "We will discuss that at the next meeting. It’s on Sand Road above Highland Cemetery. We also have discussed the Ashland Oil property, east of the old ethanol plant, but we haven’t had any luck with that."

Including the site of the proposed new schools, there are many issues that the community will have to discuss and support for this project to get under way, Seagraves added.

"It is a big project," he said. "And it’s going to take a lot of work. If the community is not involved in it, it will be a hard road. But above all else, the whole board, we’re 100 percent that we want the community involved in it. We want their advice. If it’s going to work, they are going to have to be the ones to say so."

Funds for this project were originally approved in July by the Ohio School Facilities Commission.

OSFC officials approved $1 billion for school construction this year. In the commission’s first two years, the state funded 35 districts, said Randall Fischer, the commission’s executive director.

With Monday’s controlling board action the state has now provided $1.9 billion toward school building projects since 1992, Fischer said.