Xenia trying again for Warner levy


By Scott Halasz - shalasz@aimmediamidwest.com



XENIA — After a close vote in November, Xenia Community Schools are again trying to pass a bond issue for a new middle school.

School board members unanimously voted Jan. 14 to place a 2.3-mill levy on the May ballot that if passed will generate $36 million to fund the building of a new middle school adjacent to the current Warner Middle School property. A similar property tax was turned down by 358 votes in the 2020 general election (8,724-8,366). The district will also ask for the renewal of a 1.3-mill permanent improvement levy

“The incredibly close vote this past November makes the decision to ask the voters to reconsider this straight-forward plan to replace Warner Middle School a relatively simple one,” said Superintendent Dr. Gabe Lofton. “The need for a new facility has not gone away, and our students deserve the opportunity to learn and grow in a facility that will meet their needs for years to come.”

The plan to replace the district’s only middle school would be the same as the one previously recommended by a volunteer advisory group: build a modern middle school on the same property, keeping students in the current facility until the new building is complete and the old building can be demolished.

Because of the reevaluation of property values in 2020, the millage is slightly lower than it was in November (2.6 mills), although the funds generated would be the same, according to district officials. If passed, it will cost the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $80.50 annually, according to a calculator provided by the county auditor.

The permanent improvement levy, which must be renewed every five years, generates approximately $450,000 annually and was last approved by voters in 2016.

The PI renewal will not raise taxes for voters, and will continue to fund projects on the district’s Facilities Master Plan that are part of ongoing maintenance and improvement across the district, officials said. These plans are based on a detailed assessment of the district’s facilities in 2017, and prioritized based on ongoing assessments of school property.

“It is our hope that we can address any lingering concerns that voters may have about replacing Warner, while also making sure that families understand that the PI funds are what allow us to maintain and continue to improve all district facilities,” Lofton said. “It is our responsibility to create the best environment for students to grow and learn, and maintaining the pace of our facilities plan hinges on voters renewing those funds.

Previous projects funded by permanent improvement dollars include the restoration of Benner Field House, which reopened in November 2019, and the complete renovation of the Bob Hope Auditorium at Xenia High School, scheduled to open in February 2021. Other recent projects include a district-wide lighting project, as well as extensive parking lot repair and resurfacing.

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By Scott Halasz

shalasz@aimmediamidwest.com

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.