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Published: Wednesday, 12/18/2002

Otsego plans May bond issue vote

TONTOGANY - The Otsego Local Board of Education last night agreed to start work on placing a bond issue on the May ballot.

Voters in November rejected a 9.76-mill bond issue for a new middle/high school. The measure would have raised $25.5 million over 28 years.

Board member James Harter said the board will ask for the same amount.

“This is a good school district and we're doing good things,” Mr. Harter said. “Our main handicap is our facilities. I think this is a critical issue for us. Some of these buildings are at about 80 years old and can't be remodeled.”

Those who opposed the bond issue in the past have wanted renovated, not new, schools and have raised concerns about other neighborhood schools closing if a building is constructed.

Superintendent Joe Long said the Ohio School Facilities Commission has recommended the district construct new buildings and would fund 55 percent of the cost.

Some board members suggested that the current school buildings will only get worse.

“The need is still there,” board member Lisa Hatfield said at the meeting.

Mr. Harter said a citizens committee has met once to come up with a strategy for passing the bond issue, but it can't do much more until it knows the millage.

The board instructed Treasurer Christine Ziegler to ask the Wood County auditor's office to determine the millage.

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