YELLOW SPRINGS — Yellow Springs voters will decide in the primary election Tuesday, May 8 if they will fund a bond and income tax levy designated to construct an improved Yellow Springs High School and McKinney Middle School.
According to Yellow Springs Exempted Village Schools Superintendent Mario Basora, the project is worth approximately $18 million. The bond and income tax levy combined is worth 4.7 mills property tax and .25 income tax.
The property tax portion would stand for 37 years and would cost the owner of a $100,000 home less than $14 per month or $165 annually if passed. It would fund renovations, demolition, site improvements, furniture, utilities and equipment together with necessary appurtenances and would begin Jan. 1, 2019 if passed.
The income tax portion would fund .25 percent of the project, or $12,688,963, for permanent improvements and financing. It would stand for 30 years, costing $100 annually per $40,000 of income.
“The levy is to fund the renovation and replacement of a portion of the high school and middle school,” Basora said. “Most of 50 percent of the current high school will remain in-use with some renovations. The other piece would be new.”
The district would replace two pieces of the school, constructed in 1963, including the “shoebox” — or trailer classrooms put in place in 1988 that were aimed to be temporary — as well as the three-story tower, which Basora said has “significant” issues with walls and flooring. According to the Yellow Springs Schools website, the buildings include issues related to plumbing, electricity, HVAC systems, security and “ultimately are not meeting 21st-century educational needs,” the website said.
“Those two areas are all going to be replaced with a newer space,” he said. “… The gym and everything around the gym stays.”
Some of the new items would include a new library, cafeteria, kitchen and serving line.
“Because it’s such an old kitchen and we have one serving line, kids are in line for 15-20 minutes. Consequently, we have less time to be outside playing or socializing, which we think is pretty important for kids in middle and high school and a big part of their learning and growth,” Basora said. “In addition, the current kitchen we have is very small and does not have the capacity or capability to wash dishes. We’re using plastic baskets and cutlery to feed our kids. That plastic is going to landfills … We don’t want to continue to feed into that.”
If the levy is passed and a new kitchen is built onto the school, a dish washing station would be installed. The new larger kitchen would also enable the district to serve more fresh, organic foods.