River View Levy questions addressed

| August 1, 2016

WARSAW – River View Local School District has a proposed bond issue and tax levy on the ballot for the Aug. 2 special election. Voters are being asked to help support a building project that will result in the closing of all four current elementary buildings in the district and the construction of one new elementary building attached to the existing junior high school. If the issue passes, River View’s junior high and high school also will receive renovations. The following are River View Superintendent Dalton Summers and the River View Board of Education’s answers to questions The Beacon asked them about the proposed bond issue and tax levy.

  1. How many years is the bond issue for? The 4.7 millage is for 38 years, the mandatory .50 millage is for 23 years
  1. How much money will the bond issue raise for the River View Local School District? $43,456,780
  2. What is the OSFC share of the total project cost? $9,020,226
  3. How will the money be used? All money from the 4.7 mills as well as the OSFC share will be used towards the construction of the new elementary building, renovations to the junior high and high school, the potential demolition and abatement of the existing elementary buildings and additional traffic lanes needed to enter and exit the campus.(based on traffic study completed in 2015) The .50 mill portion of the issue is a mandatory amount required by the OSFC to ensure the upkeep and maintenance costs that may be associated with the new buildings.
  4. Why was the decision made to build one elementary school attached to the junior high school and also renovate the junior high and high school? To participate with the OSFC (Ohio Schools Facility Commission) and receive their funding of 19%, River View had to have a plan that met their standards and specifications. First, we had to address all grades PK-12; we could not just focus on elementary buildings. Second, we could only renovate any buildings that cost less than 2/3 the cost to build new. All of existing elementary buildings were determined by both private architects and the OSFC architects to be not eligible for renovation. Third, OSFC will only co-fund buildings with a minimum number of 350 students, so our options were limited to building one or two elementary buildings. After reviewing several plans, the River View Steering Committee submitted ideas and wishes to the OSFC, who, in turn, presented the Board of Education with our current plan as the option that would benefit the most kids and maximize the most state dollars. This plan also met our local benchmarks of becoming more financially efficient with operations, creating a safer environment for our kids and meeting the needs for a 21st century education.
  5. When would the new and renovated facilities be expected to be completed provided the levy passes on Aug. 2, 2016? OSFC architects as well as our private firm estimates between 3.5 to 5 years for total completion of the project.
  6. What is the plan for the current four elementary schools provided the levy passes? Once students would move into the new facility, the Board of Education would have the following options for all four buildings: (in order of preference) The local village or community can take over the building for community use. (within the parameters of what the law will allow) The buildings and grounds can be sold at public auction. There is budgeted money within the plan to abate and demolish the existing structures. What we cannot do is keep and maintain the existing structures.
  7. Why is this issue being placed on the ballot for special election on Aug. 2 instead of November? River View has two opportunities to run this issue with the OSFC’s 19% on the table. After the first of the year, we are confident that 19% will again drop based on the trends of the past five years and the fact that our enrollment has not increased but our land values have. We would have placed the issue on the primary in the spring of 2016 but due to the early primary, the Board of Education did not feel there was enough time to educate the community.
  8. Why should a property owner in the River View Local School District vote for the levy? All public schools in the State of Ohio are funded by the local communities or districts. It is the responsibility of the local community and district to provide the best education for its young people so that they can and will be successful citizens. Each adult and property owner was given the same opportunity as a child when the adults at that time made the commitment and sacrifice to provide safe and appropriate environments for them to learn. In our case, some of these environments were built 70 to 100 years ago. We can all agree that what was considered a safe environment in that era has changed drastically. None of our buildings have fire suppression systems or are handicap accessible. They are not built or designed to monitor incoming visitors who may intend to harm. They have unsafe structural issues that often can’t be identified until something happens. Our buildings were designed to prepare students for the world in the 20th century, not the 21st Studies show that we are preparing our elementary students for jobs that have not yet been invented. Our kids have to be able to problem solve through the use of technology. We have to provide at least a base infrastructure for technology capabilities to be able to train and educate our children. Our current environments do not meet these needs. While this bond issue carries a significant cost for the physical environment, it will create the opportunity to become more efficient with our current operational funds. We have determined a minimum of $750,000 a year savings in operational costs just by eliminating three campuses and coming to one. We will be able to provide more services to more kids through this restructuring. So, the “why” is because our kids deserve the same opportunities to prepare for the future as their great grandparents and grandparents were given by this community many years ago. This bond issue is not a Board of Education, administration or teacher project but rather a River View Community responsibility.
  9. Do you expect students to be on the bus longer for the trip to the new elementary school? The fact is that there will be some elementary students on a bus longer than they are now. There will be some elementary students on a bus for shorter times. We will be adding some additional routes to try to ensure no student will be on longer than the longest ride is currently. The RVLSD covers 376 square miles and provides education for just over 2,000 students. Unfortunately, the cost to educate these students over the years has increased beyond the ability to effectively accommodate this low density, high mileage circumstance with several smaller rural buildings. We may explore some direct routes which will cut ride times considerably for some students.
  10. What will the bond issue cost a typical homeowner with a home valued at $100,000 in the River View Local School District? $15.17 a month
  11. Is there a plan if the levy fails on Aug. 2? If so, when will that information be shared? As we stated before, we are on the Aug. 2 ballot because we have two opportunities to run this same plan. Of all the OSFC plans the steering committee and the Board of Education considered, this is the best plan for ALL STUDENTS and it maximizes state dollars available to the district. The Board of Education has begun the legal process to make sure we can be on the ballot again in November, if need be, with this plan. We certainly are optimistic that this will not be necessary; however, the Board must continue to be responsible and leave all doors open. The Board of Education will meet soon after Aug. 2 to evaluate the results. If the need to be on the November ballot is there, we will meet with our community steering committee and discuss all options, as we have since the beginning of this process. The votes on Tuesday, Aug. 2 will be the best gauge, to this point, of the direction we need to head next.
  12. Is there anything else that you would like the residents in the River View Local School District to know about the bond issue and the plan in general? The Board of Education fully understands that this plan requires extreme sacrifice, major commitment, and willingness to make changes that we, as adults, sometimes struggle to see the value in. We believe that our duty is to put the education and well being of our students as our top priority when making all decisions. We know that our buildings are failing and are not able to be “restored” to an acceptable standard. We know that while we love our small community school buildings, the cost to educate children, along with the decline in enrollment, prohibits us from maintaining our current four elementary design. We know that we are currently using tax money to maintain the demands of old buildings instead of using it to prepare kids for tomorrow. We know that our buildings and structures fall short of the safety standards, the technological infrastructure standards, the efficiency standards, and the overall educational appropriate standards for the 21st Due to all these things, the Board does not believe this is a plan based on wants and desires, but rather a plan based on duty, responsibility, and need. We thank this community for all past and future support you have given and will continue to give to the students of River View Local School District.

Editor’s note: The Coshocton County Beacon has an established policy in place for all levy and/or bond issues placed on the ballot by an organization or group in Coshocton County at election time. That policy is to publish a question and answer article. Questions are prepared by the editorial staff of The Coshocton County Beacon and the responses are provided by a representative(s) of those placing the issue on the ballot. This policy is also followed for local candidates seeking office as either an incumbent or opposing candidate.  


Tags: , ,

Category: Education

About the Author ()

Article contributed to The Beacon.

Comments are closed.