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Published: Thursday, 2/26/2004

Springfield to seek school cash


Longstanding needs for improvements to its buildings and grounds has led the Springfield Local Schools board of education to ask voters to pass a two-part ballot issue meant to raise about $9 million.

Superintendent Cynthia Beekley said the issue on the March 2 ballot seeks a permanent improvement levy and a bond issue for permanent improvements at the district’s six buildings.

The two-part issue will not result in an increase in taxes, the superintendent said.

The board is seeking a capital improvement levy of 1.35 mills, which will replace a levy of 1.9 mills due to expire at the end of the year.

The levy that is expiring raises about $965,000 annually; the new measure, because of new property valuations, will raise about the same.

The 20-year bond issue should raise about $9.25 million, according to Robert Moellenberg, school system treasurer. He said it can be packaged with two older bond issues and payments can be covered by current revenue.

Dr. Beekley said the board of education decided against the Ohio School Facilities program for financing new construction and renovation of school buildings for a number of reasons.

The state commission that inspected Springfield’s buildings came back with recommendations that would have cost from a low of about $59 million to a high of about $65 million. The latter estimate would have included two new elementary buildings.

Dr. Beekley said the district would have received only about 12 percent of the total from the state and accepting the money would have resulted in some requirements with long-term price tags.

She said the heating systems the state wanted would have been more expensive to operate. The buildings are also part of the local history, she said, and the district wants to preserve what it can.

Although there have been renovations, she said Holland Elementary School was built in 1921 “and right now the fa ade is crumbling.’’ She said the building is safe but improvements to all buildings are necessary to keep them from falling into serious disrepair.

She said most buildings need roof repair and replacement, improvement heating systems, carpeting, and repair to block and brickwork. Most need new doorways to comply with requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. She said the drives, parking lots, and sidewalks at the buildings need repair or replacement.

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