XCS exploring options after latest levy fail

By Scott Halasz - [email protected]

XENIA — The ballot issue that would have allowed the Xenia school district to build a new middle school officially failed Wednesday when votes were certified by the board of elections.

According to numbers released, 8,724 voted against Issue 24, while 8,366 voted for it. Unofficial election results on Nov. 3 — which did not include absentee, provisional, and mailed ballots that had not yet arrived — had 8,565 votes against and 8,132 votes for.

“We are, of course, disappointed by the decision our community made not to fund a new facility for our middle school students at this time,” said Superintendent Dr. Gabe Lofton. “I do want to thank all 8,366 voters who came out in strong support of our students.”

Had the 2.6-mill property tax levy passed, it would have generated $36 million to build a new Warner Middle School and would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $7.58 per month.

XCS tried several times in the past to pass a bond issue that would enable the district to build a new high school/middle school complex near Ledbetter Road and U.S. 42. After the last failure, Superintendent Dr. Gabe Lofton convened a visioning committee which recommended replacing Warner.

A state assessment done several years ago showed that Warner has several main systems that are in need of replacement, while significant repairs are necessary for others. The more-than 50-year-old structure has a non-compliant security system, a lack of central air conditioning, and inadequate and non-compliant handicapped access. The report also noted that the overall facility is not equipped with an automated fire suppression system.

Warner houses 1,100 students daily and is no longer able to meet the needs of those students, according to district officials. Projections also show that the population of middle school-age students in the Xenia district will increase in the coming years.

The XCS long-range facilities plan has WMS at the top of the list of needs.

“Given the incredibly narrow margin, we will continue to evaluate all options, and are currently making plans to move forward from here,” Lofton said.

The district would have received around 46 percent of approved construction costs for a new middle school to be reimbursed by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission under its Expedited Local Partnership Program, which was created to allow a school district to expend local resources to proceed with new construction, additions, or repairs prior to it being eligible for state assistance.

By Scott Halasz

[email protected]

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507