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Published: Wednesday, 7/16/2008

In push for facilities levy, Pike-Delta-York Local hopes third time's a charm

BY ANGIE SCHMITT
BLADE STAFF WRITER

DELTA, Ohio - The Pike-Delta-York Local School District is making its third, and final, appeal to voters Aug. 5 with a 4.8-mill bond issue to overhaul the district's facilities.

The district has received a $15.5 million commitment from the Ohio School Facilities Commission to build a new elementary school and to make major renovations to Delta High School. Minor repairs would also be undertaken at Delta Middle School, Superintendent Robin Rayfield said.

Before going forward with its plans, the district is required to generate $10 million to support the project. The district tried unsuccessfully in November, 2007, and March of this year to win voter approval for a required local match.

The tax proposal will consist of three bond issues for a total of 4.8 mills. A 2.5 mill and 1.8 mill issue will provide $10 million for construction and will be collected for 28 years. A 23-year, 0.5-mill facilities maintenance levy will also be included and is required for state financing. Voters will be asked to provide a single vote on the package.

The proposal would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $151 annually for the first 23 years and $135 for five additional years.

The board of education has reduced its proposition from its original request for 5.23 mills by shaving $2 million off the local match, Mr. Rayfield said.

"We scaled it down by taking out anything that wasn't a requirement," school board President Donald Fogle said. "We've tried to scale it to get it to where it will be accepted by as many people as possible."

Ohio School Facilities Commission rules allow school districts one year to generate local funding after an offer has been tendered. This election is the last opportunity the school district will have to secure funding before the state match is withdrawn.

"This is an opportunity that's not going to come again," Mr. Fogle said. "If we miss it now, I think it's really going to be a huge detriment to the district."

The district hopes to build a new, 63,000-square-foot, prekindergarten through fourth-grade building at a cost of $13 million.

Delta Elementary, which currently serves prekindergarten through third grade, was built in the 1930s and lacks air conditioning and the capacity for modern technology, Mr. Rayfield said.

York Elementary, which serves the district's fourth and fifth graders, was built in the 1940s and was closed this year by the district. Fourth and fifth graders will attend Delta Elementary School, next year regardless of levy results.

Additionally, the bond money would support $9 million in renovations to Delta High School, including replacing roofing, electrical systems, and heating, air condition, and plumbing systems. The building is 30 years old.

Bond issue funds would be used to demolish Delta and York elementary schools.

Contact Angie Schmitt at:

aschmitt@theblade.com

or 419-724-6104.



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