Schools benefit from industrial park growth

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(Posted May 12, 2016)

By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer

Continued growth at the industrial complex near I-70 in West Jefferson could mean additional revenue for the Jefferson Local School District.

“We continue to grow out there,” said Superintendent William Mullett at the May 9 school board meeting, “and Duke has picked up more property. It really is providing a good deal of money.”

With major players in the retail sales and delivery services arena housed on acreage bordered by the freeway and U.S. Route 40, tax abatement/TIF and income tax infuses revenue into the district’s general fund.

For fiscal year 2017, overall tax abatement/TIF proceeds are projected to be $453,828 for the properties owned by Duke, which includes Restoration Hardware, Kellogg’s, Mars and Ace Hardware. The total also includes sites owned by MTB, Target, Battelle, Jefferson Industries and G-Tekt.

Within the industrial park, nearly $242,500 in income tax is generated by employees working at the Ace Hardware, Mars, Bon Ton, Kellogg’s and Restoration Hardware distribution centers, along with neighboring employees working at the Target and FedEx centers.

According to Mullett, Duke is in the process of acquiring approximately 205 acres across the street along Route 40, which could accommodate up to four additional buildings.

“Those (income tax revenue) should go up significantly as employment goes up,” continued Mullett. “Hopefully, down the road, more is to come.”

In other discussion, Norwood Elementary Principal Sue Barte lauded instructors Thomas Ruane, Angel Hillyard and Sheri Jarvis for earning master teacher certifications and qualifying for senior educator licenses.

“These three teachers took on the challenge of becoming an Ohio master teacher,” Barte saids. “It’s something they did on their own. I am thrilled and very honored that Jefferson Local has three new master teachers. They did a fabulous job going above and beyond.”

A group of high school students is traveling to the University of Maryland at College Park for the Kenneth Behring National History Day Contest June 12-16 after qualifying at the state level on April 30.

Samantha Walton, Caitlin Greer and Jeremy Ewalt, along with their advisor Jenny Siddiqi, are making the journey after their senior group exhibit on “Ping-Pong Diplomacy: Political Power Play” won first place at the Ohio History Day competition.

“This has been the highlight of my high school career,” said Greer during the school board meeting. “Getting to meet these people and make these connections is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

According to Smithsonian.com, the term “ping pong diplomacy” was coined when an American table tennis team competing in Japan in 1971 was invited by the Chinese team to visit the People’s Republic. No American group had been invited to the country since 1949 when the Communist party took control. Less than a year later, President Nixon made his famous trip to China, followed by a tour later in the year by the Chinese table tennis team across the United States for a series of matches throughout the country.

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