Windham OKs bond issue by big margin

By Heather Condley Record-Courier staff writer Published:

The issue received 1,020 votes with only 285 votes against it, according to complete but unofficial results from the Portage County Board of Elections.

The passage of the bond issue clears the way for $20.6 million in state building funds for the district.

"We had a lot of community support for the issue and a lot of community excitement," Superintendent Vincent Frammartino said. "On behalf of the board of education, administration, staff and students, I would like to thank the citizens of the Windham community for their vote of confidence on this very critical issue.

"We are very happy and excited that the citizens of Windham have approved this bond issue and for the great opportunities that it will bring."

The 2.83-mill bond issue will generate $927,000 from district residents during the next 23 years and assures funds from a state program geared to help replace and repair rundown and outdated buildings in school districts ranking in the bottom 10 percent in the state in terms of wealth. Windham is listed as the 11th poorest district in the state.

Without approval of the bond issue, Windham would not have been eligible for the state funds.

While a recent appearance by Gov. George Voinovich may have helped call attention to the importance of the bond issue, school officials credit the school's staff, students, administration and community members with the victory.

"I think a lot of hard work was done by the bond issue committee of 36 people. They worked very hard," Frammartino said. "We had input from all segments of the community, which was very encouraging."

With the funds, the district is planning to raze Katherine Thomas Elementary School, built in 1942, and construct a new elementary school in its place.

The existing high school and junior high school building is scheduled to be renovated to be used exclusively as a junior high school and a new high school will be built. East Elementary, built in 1963, is also slated to be renovated.

Frammartino said school officials will begin the first phase, the design phase, as early as this morning when they will meet to discuss plans. He said if construction goes as planned, the new high school and elementary school could be complete as early as August 1999, and the renovations could be complete by August 2000.

"(The approval of the issue) has ensured that the present and future children of Windham will be provided with the latest 'state of the art' facilities. We look forward to working with the entire community, students, and staff in the design phase of the buildings," he said.

The bond issue is divided up into a 2.33-mill bond issue for construction and additions, and a half-mill for building maintenance.

A 2-mill permanent improvement levy, scheduled to be collected through 1998, will be dropped at the end of this year. Because of this, residents can expect to pay only an additional .83-mills per year, which figures out to an additional $14.50 per year for the owner of a property assessed at $50,000. The owner of property assessed at $100,000 will only pay an additional $29.05 per year.

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