September 23, 2014

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As North Ridgeville district bursts, bond starts journey back to ballot

NORTH RIDGEVILLE – Modular trailers, split sessions or putting the failed bond issue back on the ballot?

North Ridgeville Superintendent Michael Tefs said it`s like being stuck between a rock, a hard place and an even harder spot, but that`s the reality of the district, and residents should gear up for one of the three.

On Tuesday night, the Board of Education met for a work session, where the 4.99-mill bond issue that failed last month by 63 votes dominated the discussion.

School officials haven`t committed to putting the bond issue back before the voters in March, but it`s definitely being considered. A decision likely will be made at the Dec. 18 school board meeting, which will give the district two days before the Dec. 20 deadline for getting issues on the ballot.

“I guess it comes down to educating the community and communicating our needs to them in the future,” Tefs said. “From the external view, we don`t have an overcrowding issue. But we are going to have to do a better job of bringing our community to our schools or our schools to the community. New students are enrolling in our schools  literally every day.”

Tefs said a hot line, which also was used during the November election campaign, is being resurrected for residents who need more in-depth answers to their questions about the problems with which the district is dealing.

“Residents really are trying to make educated, informed decisions and we feel that the best way to handle questions is with a personal touch,” Tefs said.

The hot line works very simply. Residents call, and a recorded message tells them to leave a message that will be returned in three days by someone who can answer their questions.

In addition to considering another bond issue, Tefs said school officials faced with extreme crowding are exploring the possibility of erecting modular trailers on school properties for the 2008-09 school year. Each modular trailer contains two classrooms and can cost up to $150,000 a year, Tefs said.

“We are putting 27, 28 students in the classrooms, and that can`t keep happening,” Tefs said. “We are getting 130 new students a year.”

With a target ratio of one teacher for every 25 students, the growth is like adding five new classrooms a year, he said.

Had the issue passed, the bond would have generated $54.2 million to build a new 700-student elementary school and 1,100-student middle school, as well as a 15,000-square-foot expansion at the high school.

Want to know what the bond issue entails? Call 440) 327-4200
and let them know you want a personal phone call.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 653-6268 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.