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Too high a price to pay for new Streetsboro High

Published: March 13, 2013 4:00 AM

The Streetsboro school board members have decided on a basic plan for new facilities and need residents to share their thoughts. There are pros and cons for every issue. I can speak for myself.

The 35 percent of the estimated $66.1 million price tag will be paid by the Ohio School Facilities Commission. However, the district needs to raise $29.2 million in the form of a bond issue that will be placed before the voters, who for the most part are property owners that will see their taxes increase by $124 annually if they own a $100,000 home, according to the financial documents of the district.

How many levies have we faced over the years? It's ongoing and it's always about money. Many homeowners are struggling to get by and I, for one, do not want to see my property taxes increase. That's the bottom line.

I have a question, and that is how many years will it take to pay it off? We, the homeowners, are forever being held hostage by the school board, and I say, "Enough is enough."

If you could get a rich benefactor to come up with the 65 percent needed for the fruition of this plan, I would be for it. But in this economy, it's too high a price to pay.

Mary Alice Trimmer, Streetsboro

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whizzard Mar 18, 2013 5:22 PM

If they tell you they have no room to expand I will find that hard to believe. You can remove those portable trailers and build in that direction. In fact, you could build many things in that same space. A real fine weight room, an auditorium. Keep the middle school as is for I don't see where it is a hindrance to the district. If it is, why would the city want it?

Expand Campus and the City would lose only one ball field. The cost of the ball park to this point is nothing to sneeze at.

So I am not so sure about building a new high school if it means you will have to go to the public to fund it.

Martin Fleming

whizzard Mar 16, 2013 1:17 PM

To save everyone money and move forward the land the city should trade with and compensate the school for the structure already in place is Waite.

The land for Campus should be to the south of the building to expand Campus. The city would only lose one ball field and not have to reinvent a park from or on a swamp. The cost would be nearly prohibitive and rather than invest it there, I would rather see Wait turn into a Fire Station plus a community center which is greatly needed on that side of town. I don't particularly favor children having to walk under the turnpike bridge to get to any type of entertainment in the heart of the city. With the land a park could also be developed using the school property for the community on that side.

We are nearly out of land for commercial development or residential development unless they start bringing in high rise buildings.

We have to plan for the future and we really need people on our school board who have a practical vision of growth and not one of unattainable desires that wreak havoc on the economy of their community.

Martin Fleming

whizzard Mar 16, 2013 1:11 PM

Personally I feel Ms. Trimmer hit the nail right on the head.

Renovate the high school to be a high school. Install wireless throughout the Campus.

The city trades land at the park for the campus school. Enables the city to put a fire station at that end of the community for everyone's safety.

Leave the Baseball Diamond and Park where it is at for it is close to police protection and shorter response time for public or school events.

Expand Campus as was projected, add editions on to the high school, revamp the current track to be one that could be admired, build your athletic room you want.

Build a new high school and they will want high ceilings, requiring higher cost in heating, higher cost in lighting and the list goes on. They'll tell you the cost is minimal but compared to what. What we have now, or cheaper than what it cost to maintain building such as what Aurora has.

As factualinfo has pointed out, Mr. Lesak's vision of increasing student population has no basis and in fact, the district has gone from 2200 to 2077 as stated on the school districts channel. How has the number of students on free and reduced lunches fluctuated? Many of those students are part of families that own homes while the others are transients. How will a rise in property tax affect them and then, what about those levies that are near expiration the following year? How much are you expecting your community to put forth when there are true alternatives that will help the community as a whole?

The Board should tread very lightly at this point lest they lose support that they have gathered so far.

They are hurting those who built this school district to what it is today. Union contracts have to be addressed now and changes, many changes have to take place and not promised before this board will gain the public trust.

They should hold true to what was stated in that meeting and they should take heed in what the public has to say. Unfortunately, their blind eye to the members of the past community has to be opened to gain their trust.

This may be quite a challenge to say the least.

Martin Fleming

whizzard Mar 16, 2013 11:57 AM

The citizens have to realize that what the district says it not necessarily fact. Most of it isn't when you start to dig deeper and you actually get someone from behind the scenes and you analyze what you are seeing.

Many read so much into it and speculate so much that they don't realize what their saying is the opposite of what they said previously.

How many times have they said they are good stewards of our money and how many times has that it has been shown on expenses that made nothing of nothing.

Phone survey, community survey, and the 7 steps.

Have heard nothing. At the Board Meeting they mentioned Campus received and Excellent rating just as the High School did. The Middle School received and Excellent with Distinction. Yet, Defer received and Effective rating.

So what does that tell you about the Excellent rating? From what I heard the students only have to have a score of 48% to past the test and if they all receive a 58% or better, then does that deserve and Excellent Rating?

Of course there are other factors involved but maybe there should be a deeper revealing of how the school averaged in term of a letter grade.

Did they mostly receive a B average across the board? Was it an A? Was it a D?

They say 78% passed this, there was a 48% improvement in AYP. What was the baseline or what is the baseline from which to put this in perspective?

Are all the different perspectives they look at or include in their study or testing nothing more than a smoke screen for the real data?

Martin Fleming

factualinfo Mar 14, 2013 4:52 PM

Also, for just a HS plan, make sure to include an auditorium and a new track/field. But we have the new weightroom, unless you are going to have a field house for public use, don't include it. Plus, do not over build for students projected like Mr. Lesak wants to do. Be realistic, the world is changing, more kids are home schooling/online schooling than ever before, more of our kids are open enrolling to disticts that offer courses/programs of study in fields they are planning on going into, more kids are doing post secondary and tech school training (maplewood) than ever before. WHY would we overbuild versus putting in extras for community use. Make sure you include things like a track and auditorium that the whole community could benefit from. You are asking them to pay for it with their money, make it an investment that will directly benefit them/the community, not just the school system itself. Again, quit over reaching and just put a new HS on the ballot that isn't overbuilt in it's capacity but that will have the few extras that benefit the whole community. Get this first step done correctly then go onto the Campus/Wait/MS issue. Because if you make this big leap and then run short on operating money in general for the district, a new building will not be worth anything. A building doesn't make or brake our schools, but operating levy disputes have created havoc in our schools eveytime. They effect our kids much more than the cosmetics of a building. My kids have never once come home and said they couldn't learn just because of the condition of the building. But upset teachers and teacher lay offs, busing cuts, wage freezes, etc have had considerable impact on the learning environment for my kids. It has to be about priorities.

factualinfo Mar 14, 2013 4:42 PM

Here's some of the questions I hope will be asked when the district has its open meetings. I encourage everyone to go to these meetings and/or email the district and let your voices be heard.

For too long, we have wanted a new HS and it would be beneficial to the community if it was built for use by the community/schools. The reason the price tag is too high is because the BOE insists on encumbering it with the 5 year plan. Please ask the BOE to ONLY put on the ballot for a new HS and the price will drop dramatically. The "extra" cost for the levy include too much for the closing of Wait, additional building at Campus, renovating the existing HS for MS use. Just a ridiculous over reaching by the BOE. If we say a new HS would be good then just put it on the ballot, not all the long term/5 year "dream plan". Don't make this tougher on the community than it need to be by creating another us and them system. Take things one step at a time!!!

whizzard Mar 14, 2013 12:29 AM

Loreal has been given a new lease on their abatement and over ten years, they have to admit they have save a considerable cost. Couldn't they be the benefactor?

It would be even better if they volunteered it before being confronted. For some good PR, maybe a few others would donate before being asked.

Martin Fleming

whizzard Mar 14, 2013 12:18 AM

Three years ago I sat in a meeting where they brought up the OFCS and how when the time comes for our district, they would be able to build a new high school and not have to seek one penny from the citizens to pay for it.

Now, it appears that their desires are larger than the reality of the community being able to fund it.

The city has extended abatements and as homes are foreclosed on, the lack of tax collected on those properties will be applied to those who are already paying their tax and they will see their tax rise even though a levy wasn't on the books to make it happen.

Ask the auditor. The levy is due a particular amount and that offset is shouldered by those currently paying the tax.

Martin Fleming