LOUDONVILLE — Knox County residents in Brown and Jefferson townships, along with others in the Loudonville-Perrysville school district, are being asked on May 4 to approve a 38-year property tax issue to replace current school facilities.
The combined bond and permanent improvement levy is in the amount of 8.06 mills and would be $247 a year for a homeowner under the age of 65 with a house that has a market value of $100,000. The cost to a homeowner over the age of 65 with a house that has a market value of $100,000 would be $185 per year.
Superintendent John Miller said the new pre-kindergarten through grade 12 building will house all elementary, junior high and senior high classes in one central location, adjacent to the existing high school off Ohio 39. That location is in the geographic center of the district, he said, and will allow safe access to the existing stadium, field house, event parking and the existing high school gymnasium.
According to an independent assessment, Miller said, the condition of the district’s existing facilities warrant their abandonment and replacement. The classrooms are undersized and lack the technology systems necessary in a 21st-century school system. The food service and heating systems are antiquated and costly to run and maintain. Some buildings are underutilized in terms of numbers of students, while others are overcrowded. Miller said the district is continually required to pay for expensive repairs and mandated improvements 100 percent with local funds, while the state of Ohio will share the expense of the building project, to the tune of $15.5 million.
Miller said federal assistance to finance the district is also available now, and added, “Low interest rates, low inflation rates and increased competition among contractors and suppliers mean the most school building for our money. Similar building programs in other Ohio school districts are coming in under budget due to these factors. ... A construction project of this size will stimulate the local economy and will provide a much-needed boost to economic development.”
If the levy passes, the district will have a new building which will incorporate energy-efficient designs and systems, modern security and safety systems, including fire-suppression, new furniture and new technology systems.
If the issue fails, the district will continue to incur increasing maintenance and repair expenses for the existing facilities, and would not be able to take advantage of the $15.5 million in state funds.
“The money, part of the state’s settlement with the tobacco companies, will be given to another district to help it build a new school,” said Miller.