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Manchester district voters to see levy, bond issue on ballot

2/19/2009 - South Side Leader
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By Joyce Rainey Long

NEW FRANKLIN — Voters living in the Manchester Local Schools District will see a levy and bond issue on the May 5 Special Election ballot.

On Feb. 12, the Manchester Local Schools District Board of Education took the second of two steps required to put an 8.96-mill bond issue on the ballot and also voted to place a renewal of an existing 6.9-mill levy for general operations on the ballot.

Last April, the district was offered financial assistance from Ohio’s Classroom Facility Assessment Program to build new facilities. The state has offered to pay 43 percent of the cost, or $19.7 million, to build new facilities, with the community contributing the remaining 57 percent, or $26.1 million, which would come from the bond issue.

Included in the community’s costs is an additional $96,144 for required improvement purposes and $492,000 for two additional kindergarten classrooms and funds to relocate some of the athletic fields, according to district Superintendent Sam Reynolds.

A state architectural firm recommended the district replace all three school buildings instead of repairing them. During meetings with the community and Long Range Planning Committee, the board decided to construct two buildings, one housing prekindergarten through sixth grades and the other for seventh through 12th grades.

The board is considering keeping the middle school for administrative offices. The building also may be leased for medical offices, postsecondary education or a senior citizen center, according to Reynolds.

A slide show with information on the bond issue will be available on the school district’s Web site, www.panther country.org, later this month. The board also will set up informational meetings and send out literature about the bond issue to residents.

District Treasurer David Osborne estimated the median home value in the Manchester district to be $118,400, which would cost the property owner $325 annually for the bond issue, which would run 28 years.

“This is a one-time opportunity to replace buildings that are costly to maintain and to provide quality facilities for children with state assistance,” said Reynolds.

“This has been an arduous process with no cost to the district at this point,” added Board of Education member Jay Hunter. “People will have the opportunity to express their opinions with ballots.”

“The 6.9-mill renewal issue is not a tax increase,” said Reynolds. “It is a renewal of an issue first passed in 1989. This brings in 5 percent of revenue in support of the general fund. We are asking the people of Manchester to continue to support our operations.”

Osborne calculated the cost for the renewal for the median homeowner living in the Manchester district to be $93 annually, based on the effective millage rate of 4.04 mills.

“This doesn’t increase taxes and is very vital to our budget,” said board President Richard Kaderly. “We don’t have much wiggle room without it.”

In other business, the board rescheduled its next three regular meetings for March 18, April 8 and May 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the Administrative Building, 6075 Manchester Road.

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