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Published: Friday, 2/10/2006

Port Clinton school superintendent expected to ask for bond issue

Cory Brown, left, and Allen Tigner, both 13, play with a basketball as classes let out for the day at Port Clinton Middle School. Cory Brown, left, and Allen Tigner, both 13, play with a basketball as classes let out for the day at Port Clinton Middle School.
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PORT CLINTON - The superintendent of the Port Clinton City Schools said yesterday he would ask the school board this morning to put a bond issue on the May ballot to build two elementary schools and remodel an elementary into a middle school.

"That will be my recommendation," Superintendent Patrick Adkins said.

The board was to conduct a special meeting at 7 a.m. to consider going on the ballot with a levy similar to the 4.2-mill, 28-year bond issue that voters rejected in November. That measure would have raised $37 million.

Mr. Adkins said the proposed bond issue would be close to the 4.2 mills sought last fall and that the building plan would remain essentially unchanged.

"We're going to be right in the same ballpark as we were before," he said.

The package that voters turned down would have allowed the district to close Catawba, Jefferson, and Portage elementary schools and Port Clinton Middle School, all of which are more than 80 years old. Plans called for Bataan Elementary School, which opened in 1957, to be remodeled into a middle school.

The plan would reduce the number of schools in the district from seven to four and save the district $600,000 in maintenance, utility, and transportation costs, Mr. Adkins said.

The district sponsored a telephone survey of 300 residents that showed support for new school buildings, the superintendent said. Of those surveyed, 40 percent said the district's biggest weakness was its facilities.

In addition, a facilities committee that included district residents met last month with architects and unanimously recommended another bond issue, Mr. Adkins said.

Those findings, plus projected increases in construction costs of 10 to 12 percent a year, convinced him the district should return to the ballot in May instead of waiting.

He also noted that support for the November issue was stronger than for two building issues that voters rejected in 2001. The 4.2-mill issue was defeated, 2,247 to 2,676.

"We ... had 2,300 supporters the last time, in November, and we feel those people are still there for us," Mr. Adkins said. "And our need for these buildings only grows stronger by the day. It just becomes increasingly difficult to operate seven buildings. It's our responsibility to be fiscally accountable and educationally competitive today."



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