In the United Local School District we have the opportunity to choose our future.
We have the opportunity to take advantage of an excellent academic record and a very sound fiscal operation to build on our success. On the Nov. 8 ballot is a 3.92 mill bond levy to bring back a significant portion of state money. Thirty million dollars, or 79 percent of the construction costs, coming back to Columbiana County United Local Schools if we come up with $9 million of local money to build a new PK-12 school. We will not have to pay back the state portion of the costs. We would just have to borrow (at very low interest rates) our local portion and that is what the 3.92 mill bond levy would pay back over 37 years. Yes, it is a long time, but we will use these buildings for many years beyond that and there is no penalty for paying it off early if that is possible.
The plan is to appropriately utilize the newest ('94, '97 and '04) portions of the existing building while replacing the original 1951 building and the seven oldest additions ('53, '55, '57, '66, '73, '82 and '84). In essence we can replace 87 percent of our existing building a majority of which was built by 1966.
Forty years ago I began my formal education in the original 1951 building. Today, two of our three children are in those same classrooms. These buildings have served us very well imagine what our children and decades of future students can accomplish in modern classrooms. (And no more flat roofs.)
I was once quite skeptical of the whole issue. I couldn't believe that almost all of the building needed to be replaced. But two things happened. First I took a tour of the building and realized that despite excellent maintenance of the building, it's time to upgrade. Second, I have recently have had an experience that every conscientious voter should experience substitute teaching. In different school districts, I have substituted in a one-year old building and in a 50 plus year old building. There is a huge difference, not only in the size, but also the technological capabilities of a modern classroom.
One of the best ways to protect our individual property values in United Local is to provide the local funding to pull down $30 million of state money to build a modern building. Just as our educational leaders chose to consolidate the many one room school houses to build the 1951 building, we have the opportunity to also pay forward for a brighter future.
Please, if you have any questions, ask. If you want to see a really old boiler heating system, come take a tour. Many people who have done these two things walk away believing that voting for this United Local bond levy is a practical decision.