November 27, 2014


Keystone schools seek tax levy

Correction: Due to incorrect information provided, this story originally stated Issue #3 as the levy for the school district. Issue #3 is the Elyria Public Library Levy and is not associated with the school district.

LAGRANGE — The Keystone Elementary School building on Liberty Street one day may become a community recreation center.

But there’s a hitch.

For the community to receive such a facility, the school district’s Issue 4 operational levy must pass May 6.

According to Keystone Superintendent Jay Arbaugh, the district plans to partner with the YMCA of Greater Cleveland, the Lorain County Health Department and the village of LaGrange to develop portions of the building into a community and recreation center.

The Lorain County Health Department has awarded the district a grant of $300,000 over a three-year period to split with the North Ridgeville community. If the tax levy is successful, it could last an indefinite amount of time, Arbaugh said.

“If we are able to pass the levy, the district would be in a position to basically donate the property and we could have a community center here,” Arbaugh said.

However, if the levy does not pass, there will be no community or recreation center.

The other options are to auction the property or to demolish it and sell the acreage.

The money received from the sale would go to the school district, Arbaugh said.

It has been 22 years since the Keystone district passed an operating levy.

Issue 3 is a 5.95-mill levy for five years. If passed, the levy would bring an additional $1,422,658 annually. The cost of the levy to a homeowner of a $100,000 home would be $17.35 per month.

LaGrange Mayor Kim Strauss said the passage of the levy is crucial because not only would it bring a community and recreation center to town, but it would also allow the Police Department to relocate and possibly add a senior center and fitness center.

“We are running out of room (at the Municipal Building),” Strauss said.

Strauss said the two gymnasiums in the building are worth salvaging. “I don’t want to see them torn down because they can do a lot of good,” he said.

Strauss emphasized the importance of passing the levy, not only for the future of the students, but for the community as well.

“It’s an exciting project and a great idea (to donate the elementary school) to the village. If the levy does not pass, it will be sold to another entity to help pay for school funds. There is a need for cash flow for the schools,” Strauss said.

Arbaugh noted that funds generated from the passage of the levy would assist in paying for wireless technology; the school resource officer; technology class at the elementary school; Spanish, STEM and robotics classes at the middle school; and dual enrollment and advanced placement classes at the high school.

A meeting will be 3 p.m. Monday at the LaGrange Village Hall, 355 S. Center St., to discuss the future of the building on Liberty Street.

Contact Melissa Linebrink at 329-7243 or

  • Nathan Opfer

    This makes me laugh… 22 years? and the school is still running? so you are saying the schools have been operating the past 22 years without an operating levy? hmmm, makes you think the levies were pointless in the first place and secondly that should tell you that people are tired of paying ridiculous taxes in LaGrange. I don’t see this goin very far.

    • SniperFire

      Seems like a weak attempt at blackmail, and it certainly is a false choice ‘either or’ for taxpayers.

      • Sue Lawson

        Not taxpayers Sniper, property owners. We don’t need this and they need to find another way to fund it.

    • Sue Lawson

      Of course they haven’t been operating without money, they fail to mention the “renewal” levies that have passed. You know, the ones that won’t raise taxes but we don’t know what it is a renewal for. I think when they put the renewal levies on the ballot they should have to say what the levy paid for to begin with.

  • Michael

    I pay property taxes, so I’ll be stuck paying into this. However, “all voters” get to decide (compared to only property owners). Add to it that it is a Rec Center – not a school need. So, will the school be renting this center out for use? Making income from it? Will that in turn go into the fund to help keep my taxes for the school down? If not, then I don’t feel my school taxes should be buying something a school doesn’t need. A gym? More classrooms? Sure. Rec Center? I never had one, and do not believe it is part of an edukational need.

    And throwing the 22 yrs bit in there is an unfair comparison. This is not a need. The two have nothing to do with each other.

    • SniperFire

      I have been to your school and believe it consistently receives ‘excellent’ performance ranking by the State. They have obviously been properly funded based on the results. It is all about the parents, not the money thrown at it.

    • Sue Lawson

      Couldn’t agree more.

  • Bill Suggs

    A few things to consider about the article for those who want to jump to conclusions. You know who you are. You’re the ones that posted ridiculous assumptions here.
    1) The school ballot issue is #4 NOT #3 .
    It was originally #3, but got changed to #4 when the state added an issue
    after the deadline and pushed the other issues back one slot.

    2). The 5 year operating request IS NOT FOR THE REC CENTER. The school request is an operating request for the school to begin
    collecting revenue by January of 2015 to continue to provide the same
    programs we currently have. If the operating levy passes the district
    would be in a position to donate the Liberty Street property to other entities
    (YMCA of Greater Cleveland, Lorain Health Department, The Village) for the
    purposes of developing the property into a community center. If the
    district doesn’t pass the levy to begin collecting revenue by January of 2015
    we would not be in the same position and would have to sell the property to
    collect the revenue.
    3) KEYSTONE COLLECTS LESS TAXES THAN ANY DISTRICT IN THE COUNTY, and even if this issue passes would still be #13 out 14 distritcs
    4) Keystone has not been opn teh ballot for anything since 2010. The ONLY DISTRICT IN TEH COUNTY TO DO THIS.

    • SniperFire

      ‘ The 5 year operating request IS NOT FOR THE REC CENTER. ‘

      Why do you suppose the title of the story is intentionally misleading?

    • Sue Lawson

      But they have passed renewal levies. Also Bill, please tell me why no one writes, e-mails, or calls the governor when levies fail. People write many letters to the editor when a levy fails, I wish they would take the time to write or call the governor. I have, it’s easy.

  • Bill Suggs

    Oops. Sorry for the typos in the post below. I know someone was just dying to tell me I can’t spell. Thought I’d save you the trouble. I’d blame the keyboard, but in all honesty I was trying to type too fast.

  • LaGrange Resident

    Don’t be fooled by the wording in the article or by the superintendent’s spin. The levy has nothing to do with the community center. I am for both, but I find it offensive that they are essentially lying in order to get the levy passed.

    • SniperFire

      I wonder why the Superintendent, and the C-T, are attempting to obfuscate the facts?

  • Bill Suggs

    Why don’t all of you who think you know the answers show up at the meeting today at 3:00 so you can learn first-and rather than speculating about what you may or may not know? It sounds like the Mayor, the Superintendent, the YMCA, and the health department will all be there to answer any of your questions. Just a suggestion.

    • jack nimble

      bill, would appreciate a report on the above meeting, did anyone go ? at
      3:00, most are employed, I know public employees hate to stay after hours.