Eastwood now focuses on building improvements
The Eastwood administration will be assembling a panel to map out a plan for improvements to the district’s elementary buildings, superintendent Brent Welker said Wednesday after voters rejected a local bond issue that would have leveraged state funds for a new school.
“Now that we are going to be in these buildings for the foreseeable future, we will be looking to put a group together to look at how we can best work to extend their useful life,” he said. “The goal will be to develop a plan and a cost analysis for making needed improvements to the infrastructure of each building.”
Voters last week said no to a 2.64-mill bond levy and an 0.75-mill permanent improvement levy that would have been used to construct and maintain a new elementary school on the central campus.
According to unofficial results of the Wood County Board of Elections, 2,154 (59.1 percent) voted against the levy and 1,489 (40.8 percent) voted for it.
In his newsletter to district residents, Welker said: “I think we have finally settled the issue with the elementary buildings. I am grateful for all of the work many people put into the discussion for the last 30 or so months.”
The district was eligible for $8.5 million from the state to help fund construction of the proposed building that would have housed kindergarten through the fifth grades. Aging elementary buildings in the district would have been closed – a move, school officials said, that would have saved more than $350,000 annually in operating costs.
The 38-year bond issue would have generated about $10.24 million.
Welker said he expected the group to begin working on the building plans after the first of the year.
Eastwood voters did renew a 2-mill permanent improvement levy that was also on the ballot – 52 percent to 48 percent.
Voters in the Woodmore Local School District also rejected a bond issue that would have helped fund the construction of a new elementary school.
A 6.97-mill, 37-year bond issue that would have raised $19.5 million for the project fell to defeat in the Sandusky County portion of the district – 813 against to 643 for. In the Ottawa County portion – 638 voted against the issue while 574 were for it, according to unofficial results. A 0.5-mill permanent improvement levy was also on the ballot along with the bond issue.
The total estimated cost of the project was $25.9 million, with the Ohio School Facilities Commission providing about $6.4 million.
The school board had agreed to discontinue collecting on 1-mill of a current permanent improvement levy if the bond issue was approved, leaving a net increase of 6.47 mills.
School officials said a new school was needed to replace Woodmore Elementary School, which they described as in drastic need of a new roof and boiler as well as extensive upgrades to the electrical system.
OSFC policies, however, lean in favor of constructing new facilities rather than renovating if the cost estimates for the renovations approach two-thirds of the cost of a new building.