This November we have an opportunity to make a great investment in our community and our future by passing the 3.92 mill bond issue that will be used to renovate United Local Schools. This will raise almost $9 million that will be matched by $30 million from the state of Ohio. Not paid for by taxes, but paid with tobacco lawsuit funds specifically designated for schools.
United was built more than 60 years ago and the structures have served the community well. Eleven additions later the school is in need of many renovations, such as more efficient infrastructures, improved energy efficiency and up-to-date classrooms designed to teach in a high tech age. Flat roofs are costly to maintain and many of the windows need replaced. We will spend as much maintaining an obsolete structure over the next 37 years as we will if we pass this bond issue. What makes more sense? Spending $9 million to keep band-aiding a 60-year-old school or spend $9 million for a $39 million state of the art retrofit and addition?
This is a tough economy to ask for support of any bond issues. But we will never have an opportunity like this again. The taxes paid to the United District are not the highest or the lowest in our county. We are right in the middle. And if this new bond passes we will still be in the middle.
United has been governed with prudent fiscal oversight by numerous school boards for decades. Using budgetary restraint when necessary but also recognizing progress is critical to providing the best education with the funds available. Eleven additions over 60 years all took leadership to accomplish. Now our board is unanimous in their support of this new issue and is asking us to support their decision.
I decided to live in Hanover Township because I wanted my children to attend United. United's open enrollment is impressive and obviously people want their kids to also attend United. A newly retrofitted school will continue to attract people to our community, strengthening property values, and our quality of life.
This is not an obscene waste of taxpayer money that is so common today. This is an incredibly great deal to modernize United with 79 percent of the funds subsidized by the state. Please join me in supporting our school board and vote yes for United's future on Nov. 8.
Peter C. Johnson Jr.