New field houses and gymnasiums - or the lack of them - at two Toledo high schools became a campaign issue yesterday in the board of education election.
Endorsed Republican Jeffrey Greeno, speaking at Start High School, 2100 Tremainsville Rd., said previous Toledo Public Schools administrations have failed to deliver new athletic facilities at the West Toledo school and at Bowsher High School, 3548 South Detroit Ave. District officials pledged money for both projects during past capital levy campaigns, most recently last year. “I haven't researched it thoroughly to see what else was promised,” Mr. Greeno said.
The construction “will bring new business into Toledo in terms of building,” he said. “But secondly, it will bring equality back into the athletic programs in terms of women and their sporting events.
“Now they play second-hand in regards to men and in regards to practice times and games,” Mr. Greeno said.
Board President Peter Silverman, also a candidate Tuesday, said money is earmarked for both projects in the current budget.
He said school officials will begin holding meetings at the end of this month to learn what residents of the school communities would like to replace aging gyms.
New school buildings aren't out of the realm of possibilities, said board Vice President David Welch, whose twins attend Start.
“We will follow through. We have a commitment from the administration to begin building this spring. Obviously, we'll take input from the community at the end of November to see what's best for our schools,” said Mr. Welch, who also is seeking re-election.
The gyms haven't been built in years past, Mr. Welch said, because the district has spent money on maintenance and repair of aging buildings with not enough funding left over.
“The money just hasn't been there,” he said. “The panacea out there is that the Ohio School Facility Commission money is coming in. We're going to be able to do a lot of great things here.”
Toledo Public Schools may get up to $500 million in state funds for capital projects during the next few years. The district has a steering committee researching how to spend the money.
Also running for the three open seats in Tuesday's race are Republican Becky Berry, Democrat Anita Lopez, and independent Steve Steel.