District talks about third levy vote

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 5, 2000

SOUTH POINT –  The third time will either be the charm or final curtain for more than $23 million in new school money for the South Point School District.

Friday, May 05, 2000

SOUTH POINT –  The third time will either be the charm or final curtain for more than $23 million in new school money for the South Point School District.

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At a public meeting at South Point High School Thursday night, more than 50 residents gathered for an information and discussion forum concerning the Ohio School Facilities Commission money.

Last year, the district received notification of the need for a 4.84-mill property tax levy that would supply $7.1 million in local matching funds to add to $23.4 million in state building assistance funding to construct a new high school and consolidated elementary school. The money also would be used to renovate the current high school into a middle school.

However, the measure failed in the November and February elections, leaving board members to decide whether or not they will place the measure on the ballot one more time. If the levy fails again, the money will no longer be available to the district.

"For this meeting, we really wanted the school personnel out of the picture and to allow the architects and planners to present their program," superintendent Rick Waggoner said. "This (was) an opportunity for the residents to have their questions answered and to provide them with the information they need to make an informed decision."

During the question-and-answer Crossroads Program presentation, which lasted several hours, the audience members split into groups after hearing information about all phases of the schools’ construction and renovations.

Discussions and information ranged from site selection to community involvement in the planning process.

Site selection became a much-debated topic, and Clyde Henry of Triad Architects said the company is more than willing to continue the discussion.

"If there is information we can provide that will assist a person in making a decision, we will research those answers and make them available if we do not already have them," Henry said.

Other residents expressed concern about funding the property purchases.

"Every nickel of the public money is allocated to the project and is intended to be spent on the project," said Robert McAuliffe, BBL Construction Services project manager. "The property purchase is a school district responsibility, but the site preparation is part of the project cost."

Estimates given on the construction phase of the project range about three years, representatives said, adding that the district is still in the campaigning stage.

If South Point does not have this election or if the measure fails again, the district will lose out on more than $23 million in state funds, Waggoner said.

"This is our third time around," Waggoner said. "If we don’t pass it, it will go to other districts. That leaves us with what we have. We’ll just have to continue to provide a good education for the students with the buildings we have."