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Forum to give public voice on schools plan

Speak now or forever hold Š your portion of the tax levy for the new schools. OK, so this is a slight modification of the old clich\u00E9, but the meaning could never be more true.

On July 26, the community will have the opportunity to speak out about the Ironton School District's plans to build new schools.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. at Bowman Auditorium at Ohio University Southern, so there will be plenty of room for everyone. Since the topic initially surfaced, it has become a lightning rod for both criticism and praise. This is the chance for all involved to air their differences because it will take a unified community if the needed bond levy is to have any hope of passing in November.

If you believe that the district should build entirely new facilities for tomorrow's students, you should attend the meeting and say so. If you think some portions should be restored and preserved for those same future generations, the you should also attend and say. And if you just don't know yet, well, guess what, you should attend and say so.

Superintendent Dean Nance called the meeting an opportunity for to seek answers and dispel misinformation, something the school leaders have said runs rampant across the community.

The proposal that will go to the voters in November would build a new elementary school, a new middle school and a new junior high/high school at a cost of $41.7 million, excluding any locally funded additions. The state will pay for 73 percent of the project, while the city property owners will finance the remaining $11.2 million.

This plan was one of three options considered by the facilities steering committee, a handpicked group of community members. Other options included building new facilities for the lower grades but renovating the high school, a plan that many in the community have come forward to vocally support.

Next week's meeting will be the perfect chance for all those involved to extend an olive branch and figure out what is the best alternative for all involved.

The future of the school district should not only be about nostalgia, it should not only be about getting it done quickly, it should not only even be about money.

The debate is about the education of the community's children and all should have a voice. Just make sure you use it.