School levy supporters look at plan

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

Ironton school officials presented their school facilities plan Tuesday evening to those who will be on the front lines of the push to pass the school bond levy, as well as to the general public who will be asked to vote for that levy.

The plan got official approval from the school board late last week. Tuesday night’s meeting at Ohio University Southern was aimed at a wider audience.

Charles Fisher and his grandmother, Anna Russell, said they voted for the levy in the past and plan to do so again in May. Why?

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“So kids get a better education and have a better future,” Fisher said. Russell agreed.

“I think we need new schools,” she said. “I went to the high school here awhile back with my granddaughter and we walked around and you could look up at the ceiling and see a big piece where the plaster had fallen. Half the ceiling was in the floor. Half the time the heat is good and half the time it’s bad. I’ve heard teachers say sometimes they don’t have any heat in their classrooms. The school was in a lot better shape when I went than what it is now. I felt sorry for the kids.”

Others at the meeting plan to not only vote for the levy but also actively campaign for it. Coy Bacon was one of them.

“I’m concerned about them getting a new school. I think they need it and they need it bad. The children need a good education now more than ever before. I work with kids. I coach football and work with little league. I’m concerned. I want to see new schools.”

Bacon acknowledged that the levy faces opposition from those who worry that they can not afford yet another tax. Bacon said he, too, is on a fixed income these days. But he said the schools are a necessity.

“Everyone has just got to sacrifice to make sure our kids have a better education,” he said.

The bond issue and levy asks voters to pay $18 million toward the cost of the school building project. The Ohio School Facilities Commission will contribute $30.2 million once the levy gets local approval. The plan calls for construction of a new elementary school and middle school at the site of the existing middle school. Once those schools are completed, attention will turn to the high school. School officials have agreed

to save the entrance and auditorium if financially feasible, and build new facilities around the old part.

This will be attempt number three for the levy committee. The first two efforts,

in November and a second, special election in February ended with voter rejection. The issue will be presented again during the May primary election.