July 23, 2014

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Oberlin Schools officials weigh options after being denied state funding

OBERLIN — After they were denied state funding this year, Oberlin School District leaders found themselves at a crossroads. They no longer can afford to maintain their buildings and so far are unable to raise enough money to construct new facilities.

The district’s facilities commission met Monday night to brainstorm ways to consolidate the four buildings — two elementary schools, a middle school and a high school — in order to save the district money.

The meeting came after a notice the district received two weeks ago informing them they will not receive the $7 million they were waiting for from the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission (OSFC) to consolidate its four buildings. The funding would pay part of the $47 million renovation project the district plans to complete. The rest of the money would come from bond issues and levies or income taxes.

For a district that’s been planning to consolidate their buildings since 2007, it was a difficult blow.

Oberlin Schools Superintendent John Schroth said the district cannot financially sustain the buildings it has now, nor can it make too many changes without money from the OSFC.

“There is no real ‘do nothing’ option,” he said. “Our process here is to rethink the whole scenario.”

Though they didn’t come to a conclusion Monday night, the commission solidified some of its focuses. First, members plan to demolish Prospect Elementary, which is one of two elementary schools in the district. Students from Prospect Elementary School would attend Eastwood Elementary School and Langston Middle School.

Several commission members said the top priority should be renovating the high school.

Schroth, who said he will bring the ideas to the school board next week, added that it is too late to begin construction for the 2014-15 school year, but that he would like to know what the district plans to do in terms of construction before the fall.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.

  • Sis Delish

    The rate of child births in Oberlin MUST be declining, so what is the rush to build new and more?

  • Simon Jester

    Oberlin, of all places, hasn’t the slightest claim to state funding. They’re not broke.

    Time to behave like responsible adults and work within a budget.