WINTERSVILLE - A 4.95-mill combination levy/bond issue for Indian Creek School District is on the Nov. 6 ballot for district voters' consideration.
The district serves about 2,400 pupils and students in Mingo Junction, Wintersville, Bloomingdale, Unionport and portions of Steubenville's 6th Ward. The proposal requires just one "yes" or "no" vote for the combined levy and bond issue proposal, according to district Superintendent John Rocchi. The proposal includes a 3.5-mill bond issue that would raise about $16.3 million for construction of a new district high school on the grounds of the present high school; and an additional 1.45-mill, five-year operating levy for district operations, said Rocchi.
"The $16.3 million (raised through the bond proposal) would be our portion for construction of a new high school," said Rocchi, adding the Ohio School Facilities Commission would contribute another $8 for construction of a district building if the bond issues passes.
"Also, built into that bond issue is another $5.7 million for renovations of existing facilities," Rocchi said.
The bond issue is for 37 years, while the levy would expire in five years, added Rocchi. The total project cost for a new district building, upgrades to current district buildings and Kettlewill Memorial Stadium would total $30 million, with district voters paying $22 million of the cost and the state $8 million, according to literature provided by the district.
The same proposal was rejected by district voters in March, with 54 percent of district voters voting against the proposal and 46 percent voting for it. Rocchi said he believed some voters may not have fully understood the issue during the previous election. He added he also understood the economic concerns of some voters.
"It's a difficult time for everyone," he said. "The costs continue to rise as far as construction is concerned.
"The main issue is that the high school is too small," continued Rocchi. "We have to use portable classroom (trailers). The new building would be built at the (present) high school site. We currently don't even have an auditorium in the entire district. We're also wrapping in with (the bond issue) stadium renovations."
Rocchi said the Ohio School Facilities Commission only contributes toward district building construction and not toward any stadium or existing building renovations, equipment and furnishings. Upgrades as part of the bond issue would include renovations to elementary buildings; parking lots and traffic flow at elementary building sites; any portion of a new district building not covered by the state commission's funding, such as the cafeteria or auditorium; and stadium renovations.
The 1.45-mill levy proposal, which would generate about $475.000 annually and expire after five years, would be used to maintain class sizes, employ adequate staff, extra-circular activities, maintenance of buses and bus routes, said Rocchi.
The superintendent said the district has made cuts and tightened its belt after loss of state revenue, and the only recourse left was to ask district voters to help fund operations.
"We cut 27 positions last school year," said the superintendent. "We have changed our bus routes and start times of buildings. We've lost $1.3 million from the state. (Asking the public) is the only way we can guarantee (operating funds). We're a public school district, and we're here to serve the public. A school (bond or levy proposal) is the one aspect of government (the voters) can say 'no' to. This is our opportunity to take care of the issues. (If the proposal passes) we don't need to go back to voters again except for renewal of the 7.9-mill operating levy in 2015."
The proposal's cost for a residence in the district valued at $100,000 would be $151 annually or about $12 per month; and about $113 annually or $9.47 per month for seniors with a Homestead Exemption, according to literature provided by the district.
For information or the bond issue or levy, call (740) 264-3502.
(Miller can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)