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South Point ready for levy campaign

Burlington – Only about 30 people attended the public information meeting concerning South Point Schools’ proposed new building project at Burlington Elementary School Monday.

Tuesday, October 05, 1999

Burlington – Only about 30 people attended the public information meeting concerning South Point Schools’ proposed new building project at Burlington Elementary School Monday.

But Superintendent Rick Waggoner is not worried. The low turnout might prove to be a positive thing.

&uot;I think it means people have heard about it,&uot; Waggoner said. &uot;And the low turnout means we don’t have strong opposition. We sent 2,000 letters out about the informational meeting, and we know from previous experience that people will show up if they are opposed to an issue.&uot;

Most comments from those area residents attending the Monday meeting were positive, however.

If South Point School District residents approve a 4.84-mill levy to provide about $7.1 million to match the state’s offer of about $30.6 million to build new schools, Burlington residents will have to say goodbye to a part of their history and community – Burlington Elementary School, said Chuck Linthicum, Burlington resident.

&uot;The school is part of our identity,&uot; Linthicum said. &uot;It’s been here for such a long time, and a lot of the people that are still here went through these schools.&uot;

But the state won’t give matching dollars to renovate the old schools, said Clyde Henry, architect with TRIAD Architects Inc.

&uot;The state is looking long-term for improvements in Ohio school facilities,&uot; Henry said. &uot;They say that if the cost to renovate these buildings is more than two-thirds what it would cost to replace them, they are going to replace the buildings. The state said if they are going to renovate these buildings, they are going to make a sound investment.&uot;

The cost to renovate both district elementary schools and the current high school would be too much, Henry said. That is why the Ohio School Facilities Commission has recommended the district build a new high school and a consolidated elementary, he said.

The current high school would be renovated into a new middle school, if the proposed tax levy passes, Waggoner said.

&uot;The State of Ohio has dealt us a hand,&uot; he said. &uot;We can’t trade in the cards and get some others. And if we don’t get this now, what are we going to do in five to 10 years when we really need new buildings?&uot;

The district might never get another chance to receive this type of deal from the state to build new schools again, Waggoner added.

&uot;For 23 cents on the dollar, we can have these new schools,&uot; he said. &uot;This is not just for the school district, this is for the whole community.&uot;

The South Point Committee for Better Schools will have three more public informational meetings this month in preparation for the November election.

Area residents are urged to attend the meetings, which will take place at 6 p.m. Oct. 11 at South Point Middle School, 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at South Point Elementary School, and 7 p.m. Oct. 25 at Burlington Elementary School, Waggoner said.