October 2, 2014

Elyria
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COLUMBIA SCHOOLS

Successful issue would replace aging school

Issue 28
What: 2.75-mill permanent improvement levy for the Columbia Schools
Duration: Ongoing
How much it would raise: $574,000 a year
Purpose: Add classrooms to Columbia Middle School so it can also accommodate kindergarten through fourth grade. The levy also would pay for building maintenance and improvements, buses, equipment and technology
Cost: The owner of a $100,000 home would pay $48 more a year than the current permanent improvement levy

Cindy Leise
The Chronicle-Telegram

COLUMBIA TWP. — Parts of Copopa Elementary are almost 90 years old and a levy going before voters on Nov. 3 would pay for a $5.5 million addition at Columbia Middle School to replace the aging elementary.

Copopa — which recently had an infestation of bats — would be sold or torn down if the 2.75-mill permanent improvement levy passes, according to Columbia Superintendent Graig Bansek.

Since 2005, the district has spent $269,758 to repair Copopa, which the Ohio School Facilities Commission recommended be replaced in 1990.

The 2.75-mill levy would raise $574,000 a year and replace a 3-mill permanent improvement levy passed every five years since 1989 that brings in $277,000 a year.

While the millage is lower, the new levy brings in more money. It would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $4 more a month than the current levy, Bansek said.

If it passes, 63 percent — or $360,000 a year — would be used to pay the mortgage on the loan for the addition to the Middle School while 37 percent, or $214,000, would be used to maintain and upgrade buildings, grounds and classrooms.

Bansek said the Columbia district is considered by the state one of the wealthiest — it falls just under the top wealthiest 100 districts — so money from the state’s school facilities commission is not available for the addition to the middle school or a new elementary, he said.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.