September 2, 2014

Elyria
Clear
75°F
test

Online survey: Tell Elyria Schools what you think of $88M building plan

ELYRIA — The Elyria school district wants to know what voters think of the state’s offer to fund 43 percent of the $88 million cost to replace all seven of the district’s aging elementary schools with five new buildings.

Beginning at 7 a.m. today, people living within the Elyria school district can provide input by answering an online survey available at www.elyriaschools.org.

Also beginning this evening, the district plans to poll 600 households with frequent voters in a phone survey, Higgins said.

The online survey closes at 12:01 a.m. Aug. 7, and the results will be studied to determine how the district should proceed, said Amy Higgins, schools spokeswoman.

It’s the first time the district has sought input online, and it hopes a cross-section of the community takes part, she said.

“The higher the number, the better the results will be,” Higgins said.

The state’s share of the building project would be about $38 million and the community would have to pay for the remaining $50 million through passage of a bond issue.

“Both surveys are about 10 questions,” Higgins said. “Generally speaking (the surveys) ask about the quality of education in the Elyria Schools and also of the general condition of the current elementary schools.”

Burges & Burges Strategists, a Cleveland consulting firm, will conduct the surveys, she said. They will cost the district $6,500.

If the school board decides to put a bond issue on the November ballot, it will have to meet a number of deadlines with the Lorain County Board of Elections next month, Higgins said.

The school district now has seven elementary schools, so two would be lost under the new proposal. The sites for the new schools haven’t been pinpointed, but school officials say Ely Elementary on Gulf Road most likely would be rebuilt there because it serves a large population and is in a prominent location.

In May 2007, voters approved a bond issue to build the new high school at a price tag of $70 million. The high school’s budget included about $45 million in local funds and $25 million in state funding through the Ohio School Facilities Commission, which is offering the district the money for rebuilding of elementary schools.

Philanthropic and private donations brought in another $1.2 million the district used to build upgrades like the WiFi Cafe, the Senior Rathskellar Lounge and to purchase digital musical instruments.

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