By Scott Halasz
XENIA — The Xenia Community School District is going to try once again to pass a bond issue to allow for construction of a new high school/middle school complex.
Board members at a special meeting Wednesday gave officials the OK to place a resolution of necessity on the December school board agenda, which will start the process of the issue being on the May 2 ballot.
The 3.9-mills bond issue failed Nov. 8. Had it passed, it would have generated approximately $2.4 million annually for 37 years to pay for the project, estimated at $64 million. The Ohio School Facilities Commission is offering nearly $29 million to help pay for the project, but the money is only good for one year, meaning the district has only two more chances to pass the bond issue.
“It’s worth giving it one more shot,” Assistant Superintendent of Business Operations Christy Fielding told the board. “We weren’t that far away.”
Unofficial results show that it failed 8,720 to 7,849. That margin means the district only needs to flip approximately 436 voters who voted against the levy and not lose any previous “yes” votes.
The new schools are necessary, school and OSFC officials say, because both buildings are old and need many repairs to bring them up to code and to hold the growing student population. Those repairs and improvements will need to be made regardless of the bond issue’s success.
“I think folks felt that a ‘no’ vote was cost free,” board member Robert Dillaplain said. “That’s going to impact our projected financial health.”
Repairs would most likely come from the general operating fund, board members conceded. That means an operating levy ballot issue, projected to be years away, could come sooner. There is also a possibility that a permanent improvement levy could be sought.
“That was a point that wasn’t emphasized enough this time around,” Dillaplain said.
In order to be on the May ballot, the district must approve a resolution of necessity by Jan. 2 and then a resolution to proceed by Feb. 1.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.