December 21, 2014

Elyria
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Oberlin Schools to put 1-mill levy on ballot

OBERLIN — After funding setbacks and years of planning, the Oberlin school district is starting to make the first major steps toward a facility renovation and consolidation project.

The school board voted Tuesday to put a 1-mill continuous levy on the November ballot that would raise about $180,000 yearly for building facilities, maintaining buses and curriculum updates. Additionally, the levy would meet a requirement established by the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission. The continuous levy would allow the district to put the plan to consolidate the district’s buildings into motion.

“We would have to pass the levy at some point in order to get funding,” board member Anne Schaum said.

The district has been planning on consolidating the school buildings — two elementary schools, a middle school and a high school — for years. In May, the district was told it would not receive the $7 million from the OFSC it was seeking to start the project anytime soon.

That forced district officials to rethink their approach.

In early July, Oberlin Schools Superintendent John Schroth met with the facility committee and began a plan to build a new school — either a pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade building, a sixth- through 12th-grade building or a ninth- through 12th-grade building. The district is waiting for more information from their architects on the estimated cost of the buildings.

Regardless, the board agreed that the district cannot continue maintaining the number of buildings it currently operates for financial reasons.

“Maintaining four buildings is not in our long-term interest,” board member Albert Borroni said.

The board plans to continue looking into building a new school. It will set up a committee to discuss consolidating their current school buildings as a fall-back option.

“We need this (levy) money in any of those scenarios,” board member Ken Stanley said.

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