Reynoldsburg bond issue chairs ready for campaign

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 Messenger photo by John Matuszak

Len Hartman and Ginita Kirksey have taken on the task of convincing Reynoldsburg voters to approve a 4.4-mill bond issue and a 0.5-mill permanent maintenance levy on the March 4 ballot. The issue would bring in $56 million in local funds and $55 from the state for the construction of a second high school and seventh elementary school, along with renovations at the existing high school and five other buildings.

To Len Hartman and Ginita Kirksey, co-chairs of the Reynoldsburg school district’s bond levy campaign, the problem of overcrowding is obvious and highly visible.

Modular classrooms are reminder that the district needs more classroom space, according to the volunteers, who were introduced at the Jan. 22 school board meeting.

In addition to being an "eyesore," Kirksey said, the modulars in use at the high school and other buildings present a safety hazard for students.

"When I was in high school, everyone was in the same building," Kirksey said.

Hartman pointed out that Reynoldsburg High School was built to accommodate 1,300 students, and now houses 2,200.

Passage of the 4.4-mill bond issue on the March 4 ballot would bring in $56 million, and would allow the district to receive another $55 million from the Ohio School Facilities Commission for construction of a second high school, and a seventh elementary school.

Funds would also be used for renovations at six other schools. The current high school is slated for $15 million in upgrades.

Voters are also being asked to approve a 0.5-mill levy for building maintenance.

As well as presenting a safety issue, attending classrooms in a modular can dampen a child’s enthusiasm for learning, according to Kirksey, who has two sons attending Herbert Mills Elementary.

"It takes some of the excitement away," Kirksey said.

The parent has also seen the benefits of an updated facility at Hannah Ashton Middle School, where her daughter is enrolled.

For those without children in the schools, or seniors on fixed incomes, an improved school district would increase property values, noted Hartman.

Passage of the bond issue would complete a three-phase construction project for the district, that started with the approval of bond issues in 2002 and 2004.

Reynoldsburg voters turned down a bond issue for the second high school and seventh elementary in 2006.

But supporters are confident that, with final approval of the state funds with a local match, voters will give a thumbs up this time around.

The campaigners plan to get their message out with a kick-off event, signs, literature and canvassing of neighborhoods.

They also welcome more volunteers. The bond issue committee meets Tuesdays at 6 p.m. at the central office. That office can be contacted at 501-1020.

In other business, the board approved the hiring of Dan Hoffman as assistant superintendent, filling the position vacated by Stephen Dackin when he took the superintendent’s post Jan. 1.

Hoffman spent 26 years in the Reynoldsburg district, as a teacher, basketball coach, athletic director and principal, and another two years as an administratir in the central office before leaving in 1997.

Hoffman’s return brings his career full-circle, Dackin said. "He will be an immediate fit to the culture of Reynoldsburg schools."

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