Two Medina County school districts will be able move forward on replacing their aging facilities after voters approved two separate bond issues Tuesday night, while voters in another district renewed a levy to maintain its current level of operations.
Brunswick Schools’ $48.1 million bond issue that will assist the district in consolidating its three middle schools — Edwards, Visintainer and Willets — into one building was approved by voters 5,487 to 4,390, according to unofficial results from the Medina County Board of Elections.
“We are thrilled about the results of Issue 17 and thankful to have a community that supports and values education,” Superintendent Mike Mayell said. “We are excited to move forward with this project and provide our students with the updated facilities they need and deserve. This is an exciting time for Brunswick City Schools and our community.”
The issue will be retired at 2.3 mills over 36 years. The request will cost a homeowner $80.50 annually, or $6.71 per month, per $100,000 of property valuation.
The $63 million bond issue on the ballot to replace Highland’s three elementary schools and renovate the middle school was approved by voters 3,517 to 3,188, according to unofficial results.
“To our residents and families, thank you so much,” Superintendent Catherine Aukerman said. “We are extremely grateful to have earned the support of our community on this critical issue. With three new elementary schools and a renovated middle school now on the horizon, our students will have the opportunity to grow and learn in modern school facilities.”
The request, to be retired at 3.9 mills over 37 years, will cost a homeowner $136.50 annually, or $11.38 per month, per $100,000 of property valuation.
Voters in the Black River school district approved a five-year operating levy renewal — 1,352 to 878 — that brings in about $1.6 million annually for the district. Funds account for 12-percent of the district’s budget.
“Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote on Tuesday,” Superintendent Chris Clark said. “Passage of the renewal levy was critical for Black River and I appreciate your support of our district and students.”
The $48.1 million project will assist the district in building one middle school on 30 acres of land owned by the district on Pearl Road behind Edwards, built in 1961, and Visintainer, built in 1920.
It also will fund a multipurpose athletic facility and performing arts center for the middle school, and replace roofs and windows at the elementary schools.
The district was approved to receive 37 percent — or $18.3 million — in state funding toward the project by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission.
Mayell said the future of Willetts remains under discussion, while Visintainer and Edwards would be torn down. He said Willetts could become a professional development center, high school STEM school or board of education offices, or move Towslee Elementary students to Willetts.
The bond issue is the district’s first request for funding since 2006, when voters approved a seven-year, 4.5-mill operating levy and renewed it in 2010 for 4.6 mills.
The $63 million project will enable the district to replace its aging elementary schools:
- Sharon Elementary, 95 years old;
- Granger Elementary, 88 years old;
- Hinckley Elementary, 68 years old.
Aukerman said the district will work on conceptual designs on the new elementary school buildings with the Akron-based GPD Group, who was hired to lead the projects, as well as educational visioning with our staff and community.
The project also includes renovations and upgrades to the 58-year-old middle school, which could begin as early as summer, Aukerman said. Renovations include heating, ventilation and air conditioning; roof replacement; safety and security measures; and fire suppression systems.
“We will immediately begin to plan for the renovations,” she said.
The district acknowledged the hard work and dedication of campaign manager Tom Dreiling, volunteers and coordinators for their time in community outreach efforts leading up to the election.
“Parents, staff members, students and residents all played a big part in reaching out to voters to ensure they were informed about the importance of this critical issue,” Aukerman said. “We are grateful for their efforts and for their commitment.”
The bond issue comes after three years of discussion and collaboration with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to conduct required studies and building surveys on the elementary schools, and various surveys with parents and stakeholders.
The commission aids school districts with project needs, cost evaluations and impacts.
The 8.5-mill levy voters approved in 2013 was renewed at a lower millage rate Tuesday night of 7.8 mills. It will generate the same $1.6 million annually as the levy on the books.
Homeowners now will pay $245.70 annually. They previously paid $267.75 per $100,000 of valuation.
Clark said funds generated by the renewal levy will allow the district to maintain class sizes, as well as resources for students with developmental disabilities; science, technology, engineering and math subjects and vocational classes; and extracurricular and extra academic programming.
The dollars also will be put toward maintaining the district’s buildings, upgrading safety and security systems and allowing community use of the facilities after school hours.
Clark said the district plans to make updates at the high school, including repaving the parking lot, installing new insulated windows and doors, and upgrading fire and other safety systems.
To date, he has said the district has updated heating and air conditioning units in multiple elementary school classrooms, repaved the parking lot, installed updated fire alarms throughout buildings and installed security cameras at the elementary school.
“At Black River, our goal is to provide our students with an excellent education while being fiscally responsible and transparent,” Clark said. “With the passage of the renewal, we will be able to maintain financial stability and a high-quality education for our students. Thank you again for your support.”
The district includes portions of Medina, Ashland and Lorain counties.
Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.