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Published: Tuesday, 10/26/2010

Both sides of Rossford school issue make their cases

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Divisions continue to run deep in Rossford Exempted Village Schools as supporters and opponents of the district's $87.2 million plan to build all new schools present their sides.

Last week, about 30 people attended an informational meeting held by the Coalition for Effective and Efficient Rossford Schools. The group is opposed to the 5.99-mill, 37-year bond issue on Tuesday's ballot, which would raise $50 million to build new middle and high schools near Glenwood Elementary School, and wants residents to have more input in a facilities plan.

"We all admit … our schools need work and need attention," said architect Robert Densic, the coalition chairman who resigned from the district's facilities committee before it made a final recommendation to the school board.

Mr. Densic said renovation needs to be further considered for existing schools, and if building does occur, location should be talked about more. In the second phase of the proposed plan, all elementary students would be consolidated in a new school downtown on the site of the existing middle and high schools.

Exchanges at times were heated as attendees questioned coalition members, including Mr. Densic and Roger Gluckin. Any district plan should include opinions from experts and community members, although residents could be asked to pay more taxes, Mr. Gluckin admitted.

"We all agree that the schools have to be improved, and we have to spend money on that," he said.

The 5.99-mill bond levy on Tuesday's ballot would cost the owner of a $100,000 house about $183 a year.

John Appt, who headed up the district's facilities committee, also was on hand to explain how the decision was made and answer questions. Mr. Appt said one benefit of the proposal is operational savings for the district.

Yet the biggest chunk of estimated savings, about $4.7 million, would come from eliminating about 65 positions in the district, Mr. Densic said. And if student numbers increase, those savings would be trimmed because positions would be far harder to eliminate.

Coalition member Tiffany Densic, a member of the district's finance committee, said the second phase of the buildings proposal would require the district to secure somewhat risky certificate of participation bonds. Plus, the district would be leasing instead of owning facilities until the bonds are paid, she said.

Wednesday night, the school district is holding another community forum about the levy at 7 p.m. in Glenwood Elementary School's gym.



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