Crestview levy would fund OSFC project for new building

COLUMBIANA — The Crestview School District has been working hard to get the word out about the bond issue on the Nov. 6 election ballot.

The bond issue would cover the district’s $5.2 million share of the $43.2 million building project. The largest portion of the project (88 percent) would be covered by state funding through the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission.

“Our kids are always first,” Superintendent Matthew Manley said. “I see a check sitting there from the state of Ohio for $38 million, and a vote for the levy insures that money comes back to Crestview.”

The board approved putting the bond on the ballot in early July, and a levy committee has been hard at work ever since promoting the issue.

The project has been presented to small groups, individuals and there have even been several town hall-type meetings at the school to explain to people why the board believes building new schools is a better option than fixing the current buildings. Residents of the district have been invited on tours to see some of the $9 million in estimated emergency repairs the building currently needs.

Manley said the bond issue will save taxpayers money because if the new building project does not move forward the district still will need to make those emergency repairs, which are necessary replacements to the heating, ventilation and roofing. Additionally, a septic line and lift station inside the elementary school needs to be replaced.

After evaluating the repairs needed, the OSFC told the board it would assist the district if it was to pay for new facilities and not help Crestview pay to make repairs to the current buildings. The new buildings will cost the local taxpayers $5.2 million instead of the $9 million needed for the repairs.

Additionally, the new buildings will check off a lot of other concerns the school board has had, including better school security, upgrades to school infrastructure including electrical, plumbing and lighting, classrooms set up for the sciences and technology, needed improvement to the sewer plant and water supply changes, which are going to come from New Waterford’s water system. Currently, the school district has watched the production from the wells serving the school drop over the last few years.

The Performing Arts Center, which was completed in recent years would remain, but new buildings would be built to the north and northwest of it, working around the current buildings near the high school and middle school with the final outcome a brand new pre-kindergarten through 12th grade complex. Earlier in October, the board voted to have two interested citizens serve on the building and grounds committee if the bond issue passes to help give oversight for the decisions being made before and during the construction process.

When Crestview voters enter the voting booth there will be a 2.93-mill levy on the ballot. Of that amount, 2.43 mills would cover the district’s share of the construction project. Another .5 mills will be a permanent improvement levy, which Manley explained is meant to keep the school from having to return to the voters asking for more money in the future. The .5-mill portion will remain on the taxes even after the building bond issue is paid off.

Voters will be asked to vote for or against the levy. A vote for the levy would increase taxes on a $100,000 home by about $100.

Up until election day, Manley said there will continue to be meetings, small group coffee events and larger town halls as the levy committee, Manley and the board continue to explain why they believe the levy is the best option.