By Rick Palsgrove
The Groveport Madison Board of Education has approved plans for what will happen if the upcoming levy/bond issue fails or if it passes.
“It’s clearly a choice for the community,” said Groveport Madison Schools Superintendent Bruce Hoover. “Approval will keep the district academically competitive while failure will result in the reduction of programs we will no longer be able to afford. It’s important for the community to understand the services that can be provided if the ballot issue is approved, but also to know the ramifications of its failure.”
Voters will decide on the combined operating levy and bond issue on May 6.
If the levy/bond issue is approved
If the levy/bond issue is approved by the voters, the district will:
•Restore student busing for Groveport Madison High School.
•Reinstate busing beyond 1-mile radius for K-8 students.
•Phase in college and career readiness programs with emphasis in science, technology, engineering, and math courses for grades 5-12.
•Increase Advance Placement course options.
•Reinstate all athletics and extracurricular programs.
•Fund integration of educational technology plan at all grade levels.
•Allocate $1 million for essential building repairs to the high school (immediate needs only) and other building repairs. Hoover noted that, if the bond issue passes, the existing high school must be used for about three years until the new high school is constructed.
•Maintain a carryover of $3 million by 2017.
•Begin planning and construction of new high school with Ohio School Facility Commission matching funds.
•Establish an independent citizen task force to review and communicate the use of taxpayer investment.
If the levy/bond issue fails
Hoover said if the ballot issue fails, the district must make $3 million in cuts. If the levy/bond issue fails, the district will:
•Continue without busing services for Groveport Madison High School students.
•Maintain state minimum busing for K-8 students. (No busing within 2-mile radius.)
•Eliminate all athletic and extracurricular programs at all grade levels. Hoover said this means all school buildings would close and go dark starting a half hour after school every day.
•Reduce art and music programs at all grade levels. (No K-8 programs. One high school fine art credit to remain.)
•Staff reductions of: 27 teachers, 2 guidance counselors, 2 administrators and 1 clerical position
•Evaluate the possibility of closing a school and consolidating middle schools.
•Additional staff and program reductions as necessary to meet the budget.
“These actions don’t come as a surprise to any of us,” said board member Nathan Slonaker. “This vote just makes official what we’ve been discussing publicly for some time.”
About the levy/bond issue
The five year, 6.18 mill operating levy would generate $4.5 million annually. The $33.3 million, 38-year, 2.74mill bond issue to build a new high school is coupled with a .5 mill permanent improvement levy. The annual cost for the owner of a $100,000 home for the combined ballot issue would be $312.
According to district officials, maintaining and renovating the nearly 50-year-old high school would cost $16 million spread out over a 16 to 20 year period using the $1 million available in the permanent improvement fund each year.
So instead, the school board wants to build a new $62.9 million, 235,000 square foot high school using Ohio Schools Facilities Commission funding with the state paying $29.6 million and the local share paying $33.3 million.
The high school, located at 4475 S. Hamilton Road, would be torn down and a new high school would be built where the current parking lot, two softball fields and tennis courts now stand. The softball fields and tennis courts would be moved to elsewhere on the property. The new building option could include either constructing a high school with a new auditorium and one, large gymnasium; or keeping the existing auditorium and gymnasium and then building a new high school with a second, larger gymnasium.