Board seeking bond issue input

By Scott Halasz -

XENIA — The Xenia Community School District Board of Education is seeking some direction regarding the twice-failed bond issue.

The board has the option of placing it on the ballot one more time — Tuesday, Aug. 8 — before money from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission goes away. But before committing to the special election, the district wants to hear from the public at its board meeting Monday, May 8. The deadline is Wednesday, May 10 to pass the final resolution necessary to place the bond issue on the ballot.

“We want people to come and give us input,” Superintendent Denny Morrison said.

The levy, which would have provided funding to allow the district to building a combined high school/middle school complex at the US Route 35 and State Route 42 intersection, failed by around 900 votes in November and by slightly more than 400 votes May 2.

Had it passed, it would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $12.26 per month to cover the city’s share of the project. The State of Ohio had pledged more than $28 million — around 40 percent of the total cost — if the city can come up with its local share.

The district sought the bond issue because the current buildings — Xenia High School and Warner Middle School — present multiple safety issues, are in need of repair and do not meet state guidelines, according to school and state officials. The Ohio School Facilities Commission toured the buildings and did an independent assessment and calculated that the cost of repairs was more than two-thirds of the cost to build new, making the district eligible for the state money.

Some of the issues the state documented in its assessment include: Water-damaged ceilings and leaking and failing plumbing; insufficient and outdated heating, ventilation, and electrical systems; lack of fire suppression systems — not compliant with building codes or state guidelines; obsolete and strained electrical systems; infrastructure that cannot support modern educational technology; and multiple issues with ADA accessibility.

Opponents of the levy have said they can’t afford a new tax and that the school district should just repair and renovate the current buildings.

The board wants to hear from both sides.

“We’re assuming (those against the levy) will come too,” Board President Pam Callahan said. “We’ve heard so many pros and cons. We’re trying to address that. We’ve also heard we’re not listening to the public.”

Those wishing to speak need to show up prior to the 6:30 p.m. start time and inform the board they want to be heard. Residents will be given around three minutes to speak, Morrison said, adding that they are looking for legitimate reasons and rationale for views for and against the levy.

By Scott Halasz

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.