In these last few weeks before voters decide on the bond levy for construction and renovation of all Toledo Public Schools buildings, the district will campaign hard with a positive message about the project, school officials said.
“Issue 2 revolves around students: their growth, their development, their plans for the future. We see it as both an academic initiative for now and for long-term,” Superintendent Eugene Sanders said.
Peter Silverman, president of the board of education, said the $818 million plan would provide about 15,000 construction and engineering jobs over the 12-year project. That makes it “vital” for the local economy.
“The effect is well over a billion dollars with money circulating. Fifteen thousand jobs will keep construction workers working for 12 years,” Mr. Silverman said.
The two spoke during a taping of The Editors television program to be broadcast at 9 tonight on WGTE-TV, Channel 30, and at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on WBGU-TV, Channel 27.
They were questioned by Thomas Walton, vice president-editor of The Blade, and Marilou Johanek, a member of the newspaper's editorial board.
Dr. Sanders said he hopes the levy will pass despite opposition to replacing, rather than renovating, 57 buildings. “I think, at the end of the day, people will say this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It's an unprecedented amount of dollars coming from the state that we'll never see in Toledo again. It's the right thing to do,” he said.
Through the Ohio School Facilities Commission, the school district is eligible for about three-quarters of the project's basic costs from state money if voters approve the 4.99-mill levy Nov. 5 to fund the local share and its interest.
Of that millage, half a mill for 23 years would be for building maintenance, a requirement of the facilities commission's plan.
In May, the board of education approved the district's master plan, which included renovating seven schools and replacing 57. Each of the seven learning communities would have two middle schools that would house grades six through eight.