CW school levy aimed at building improvements

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Voters will decide on  a half-mill facility maintenance levy that Canal Winchester Schools’ officials hope will allow the Ohio Schools Construction Commission to release funding for building improvements.

The levy is part of a plan to qualify for OSCC funds to help fund an estimated $24 million in renovations and additions to Canal Winchester High School.

Under the plan, the commission would fund 80 percent of the project while Canal Winchester Schools funds the remainder, which is an estimated $5.5-$6 million.

The Canal Winchester Board of Education recently approved placing the 23-year, .5-mill levy on the Nov. 8 ballot.

According to Canal Winchester Schools Superintendent James Sotlar, the proposed levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home and additional $18 per year and generate approximately $208,379 per year for the district.

“Passing the levy shows OFCC we have funding for the ongoing maintenance of the proposed addition,” said Sotlar. “Funds for the levy can also be used to repair and improve other buildings in the district but cannot be used for general operating costs.”

Sotlar said the high school will see its largest classes over the next eight to 10 years and space is needed. In addition, there are 400 new home proposals predicted over the next five years.

“Growth will be an issue for all buildings, and this is the first step in addressing the issue,” Sotlar said.

The last commission-funded project in Canal Winchester was the construction of the middle school, which opened in 2008. The district established Expedited Local Partnership Program credit in the amount of $37.3 million with the building of Winchester Trail Elementary, the middle school and the 1993 high school addition.

Proposed high school renovations include HVAC, electrical, plumbing, flooring, roofing, security features and furniture. The addition is approximately 55,000 square feet and includes a new gym, media center, science labs and several classrooms/alternate learning spaces to accommodate future growth.

“The commitment of the Canal Winchester Local School District is to be a good steward of taxpayers’ monies, while providing high-quality programs for our students,” said Sotlar. “This is a very good financial and business decision for the district. The state is going to provide 80 percent of the cost and we will pick up the other 20 percent through the general fund. To take advantage of this great opportunity, we need the community to pass the .5 mill classroom facility maintenance levy.”

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