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Published: Monday, 9/20/2010

<br>Effort to derail Rossford levy draws fire

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A citizen group's campaign to derail a 5.99-mill bond issue to fund school construction in Rossford district doesn't sit well with Cynthia Wignall.

A mother of two, Mrs. Wignall said she supports the levy's passage because her children and other students in the Wood County school district deserve a refurbished school system that can accommodate modern technology.

Mrs. Wignall, who attended Sunday's informational meeting of the group, Coalition for Effective and Efficient Rossford Schools, became emotional as she told the group that the electrical system in her daughter's classroom isn't equipped to handle a fan and computerized chalk board simultaneously.

"I know that this levy is not perfect. It is not perfect at all. But it is real and it is in front of us," she said. "I want this for my kids, I want this for your kids."

Her opposition didn't sit well with group leaders, as several members of its executive board asked her to leave the Fraternal Order of Eagles hall on Lime City Road.

About 75 people gathered at the Rossford social club for the second coalition "town hall" meeting that leaders said was to share information with residents about the bond request that will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Heather Pfaender, and her mother Katrina, were two of about 75 people who attended a meeting held by the Coalition for Effective and Efficient Rossford Schools about the Nov. 2 levy vote. Heather Pfaender, and her mother Katrina, were two of about 75 people who attended a meeting held by the Coalition for Effective and Efficient Rossford Schools about the Nov. 2 levy vote.
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"We have gathered information that we believe leads us to say this levy must be defeated because this is the wrong tax, it is the wrong plan, and this is the wrong time to do this," said Bob Densic, who sits on the coalition's executive board.

Among the group's concerns are the costs to the school district after the construction of a new high school and junior high building on Lime City Road near State Rt. 795.

The bond levy that will appear on the ballot would generate $50 million over 37 years. It would cost the owner of an average Rossford home valued at $102,100 an additional $187.11 annually in property taxes.

However, the coalition said an additional $38.9 million would be needed to build an elementary school near downtown Rossford and fund other construction and renovation projects, and the district also would have to finance demolitions.

Coalition member Roger Gluckin said the building plan that will go before voters didn't have the full support of the school district's 13-member facilities committee, and two of the five school board members opposed putting the issue on the ballot.

If the bond issue is defeated, Mr. Densic said, the coalition will remain in place to work on school district improvements.

"We don't want to leave a void. We are going to step up with a community-driven plan, not a committee-driven plan, that will set the direction for the future of Rossford schools," he said.

Scott Maxwell, another parent of school-aged children in the district, spoke out during the meeting against the coalition's efforts.

"I don't think it is an outrageous amount to pay," he said. "I think we truly need to look more at the schools and what we need in the schools rather than to try to tear down the people who have brought this forward."

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com

or 734-724-6199.



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