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Published: Sunday, 11/6/2005

Area school districts ask voters for aid

BY STEVE MURPHY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Students leave school at Port Clinton Middle School. Voters are being asked to approve funds for new classrooms.
Students leave school at Port Clinton Middle School. Voters are being asked to approve funds for new classrooms.
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The Bowling Green City School District will build a middle school, a performing arts center, and two other nonclassroom structures if voters agree on Tuesday to approve a $43.28 million funding plan.

A 28-year, 5.43-mill bond issue to fund the building projects would cost the owner of a $100,000 house $166 a year. Under the plan, the district would combine grades five through eight at a new $31.1 million middle school. The junior high now houses grades six through eight. A $5.5 million performing arts center would be built for students at the middle and high schools and the community, replacing the auditorium downtown next to the junior high.

A $4.3 million support services building would house administrative offices and transportation, maintenance, and warehousing. The athletic building at the stadium would be replaced for $1.2 million, and student rest rooms, storage, and a multipurpose room would be added to Crim Elementary for $1.2 million.

All the new buildings would be erected on the 80-acre site of Bowling Green High School. Superintendent Hugh Caumartin said doing the projects on one site will save the district money.

Other school districts in northwest Ohio have tax issues on the ballot, seeking funds for building projects or to maintain student programs and services.

OTTAWA COUNTY

For the third time in five years, voters in the Port Clinton City Schools are asked to approve a tax increase to fund construction of classroom buildings.

A 28-year, 4.2-mill levy bond issue would generate $37 million and allow the Ottawa County district to replace four aging elementary schools with two new buildings. The newest of those schools, 48-year-old Bataan Elementary, would be renovated and expanded into a replacement for Port Clinton Middle School, which opened in 1922.

Voters rejected the district's two requests for building funds. In May, 2001, a 28-year, 3.92-mill bond issue to build a middle school and an elementary school in Catawba Island Township for $26.4 million was rejected. Six months later, voters rejected a 28-year, 2.31-mill bond issue to build only the middle school for $16.2 million. The bond issue would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $126 a year.

Also in Ottawa County, the Benton-Carroll-Salem Local School District is asking for its fourth operating levy request in a year. The five-year, 3.9-mill emergency levy would raise about $1.2 million a year and help the district offset revenue lost from a state change in how tax revenue from nuclear power plants is distributed. The levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $123 a year.

Other school issues include:

ALLEN COUNTY

Lima City Schools voters are being asked to approve a five-year, 6.8-mill additional operating levy.

DEFIANCE COUNTY

The Defiance City School District is asking for a 28-year, 2.84-mill bond issue that would raise nearly $26 million for construction of a new elementary school. The building for grades K-5 would replace four neighborhood elementary schools. Coupled with the bond issue is a continuing 0.5-mill maintenance levy. Together, the tax issues would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $117.50 a year.

Also seeking funds for building are the Hicksville Exempted School District (a 28-year, 7.75-mill bond issue and a continuing, 2.5-mill new permanent improvement levy) and the Central Local School District (28-year, 3.99-mill bond issue to build a middle school and high school).

ERIE COUNTY

The Sandusky City School District is requesting a 28-year, 5.97-mill bond issue, coupled with a 23-year, 0.5-mill maintenance levy. The bond issue would raise $49 million for a plan to close six schools - some of which date to the 19th century - and construct two new buildings, one for elementary students and one for junior high classes. Three elementary schools and Sandusky High School would be renovated. The tax issues would cost the owner of a $100,000 house about $198,000 a year.

Also on the ballot is the Huron City School District with a pair of renewal levies. One is a three-year, 5.9-mill levy for operating expenses; the other is a five-year, 3-mill levy for permanent improvements.

The Margaretta Local School District, which includes some areas in Sandusky County, is requesting a five-year, 7.75-mill renewal levy for operations.

The EHOVE Joint Vocational School District, which includes Huron, Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca, Ashland, Lorain, and Richland counties, is seeking a five-year, 1.5-mill renewal levy for current expenses.

HANCOCK COUNTY

The Arcadia Local School District seeks approval of a five-year, 1.5-mill permanent replacement levy.

Voters in Vanlue Local Schools will decide on two money issues: a five-year, 1 percent income tax renewal for operations and a continuing, 4-mill levy renewal for general improvements.

HENRY COUNTY

The Liberty Center Local School District, including two precincts in Fulton County's Swancreek Township, is seeking a continuing, 0.5 percent income tax for operations.

SENECA COUNTY

Voters in New Riegel Local Schools will decide on a five-year, 0.75-percent income tax increase for operations.

The Seneca East school district is requesting a five-year, 1-percent income tax renewal.

WILLIAMS COUNTY

The Bryan City School District seeks a continuing 1 percent income tax increase for operations.

In the Stryker Local School District, voters are being asked to approve a 28-year, 5.5-mill bond issue, and a 0.25 percent, 25-year income tax for building construction and improvements.

Contact Steve Murphy at: smurphy@theblade.com or 419-724-6078.



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