The Press Newspaper
Meetings between Woodmore School District administrators and the Ohio School Facilities Commission and the district’s architect are scheduled for this week to prepare for the construction of a new elementary school.
Superintendent John Fernbaugh said a meeting is scheduled with the OSFC Monday at 1 p.m. and with the architect on Tuesday.
Woodmore voters last week approved a 5.43-mill bond issue that will generate about $15.7 million in local property taxes and leverage about $7 million in OSFC funding for a new school.
Voters had twice before rejected similar 37-year bond issues, but changed their minds Tuesday. In Sandusky County, it passed by 136 votes: 728 for to 592 against, according to unofficial results of the county board of elections.
In Ottawa County, unofficial results show it passed by 175 votes: 679 for to 504 against.
Fernbaugh said he was “pleased and humbled” by the show of support.
“The credit goes to our community and to our levy committee,” he said. “They got the people to the polls.”
Fernbaugh also credited the committee’s use of social media to promote the levy campaign, which adopted the slogan “The need is real. The time is now.”
Last week’s ballot issue also was scaled back from the issue defeated in November that included almost $5 million in projects that wouldn’t have been covered by OSFC funds, including an auditorium at a wing of the high school in Elmore.
Consequently, voters last week were deciding an issue costing about $3.8 million less than the November issue.
Fernbaugh said the removal of the auditorium and other renovations that would have required local funds may have swayed some voters.
He said he and the school board are committed to keeping the public apprised of the project as it proceeds.
Committees of parents, residents, and school personnel will be formed to gather input on construction issues and public forums will be held for residents to comment.
“We will keep our people posted,” Fernbaugh said.
Much of the opposition to a new school – the current building was built in 1923 - came from residents who said the school board and administration should have implemented a better maintenance program for the building.
Supporters of the bond levy argued the building’s heating and electrical systems are too old to be upgraded and it’s not suited for the needs of today’s students.
The OSFC requires districts to also include millage dedicated to maintaining new building constructed with commission funds. Woodmore voters Tuesday approved a 0.5-mill issue to provide the maintenance revenues.