Voters say no to helping River View with building project

| August 3, 2016

COSHOCTON – The River View Local School District bond issue and tax levy was soundly defeated by voters during a special election on Aug. 2.

Forty-four percent of eligible voters turned out for the election and 2,950 of them voted no and 757 voted yes. In Licking County there were 509 people who could vote in the election and 186 of them turned out with 172 of them saying no and 14 of them saying yes. Coshocton County had 8,511 people who could vote in the election.

If the bond issue and tax levy would have passed, River View would have closed all four of its existing elementary buildings and placed students in one new building that would have been attached to the junior high school. The junior high school and high school also would have received renovations to today’s codes and the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) standards. Nineteen percent of the project would have been paid for by the Ohio School Facilities Commission and the rest would have been funded by tax payers. The state’s share would be $9,020,226 and the local share would have been $43,456,780.

“Tonight’s results were very disappointing,” said Dalton Summers, superintendent of River View Local Schools. “Many people, adults and children, worked very hard and had high hopes of a positive outcome. The BOE (board of education) and the community steering committee spent the past three years working with the OSFC and other agencies researching, developing and choosing the best plan for all kids in the River View District. This plan would serve all students k-12. It would create the most dollars being contributed. And most importantly, it would bring a safe and modern learning environment for our kids to plan for the 21st century.”

River View had three options to present this bond issue and tax levy to the voters and the November election would be their last chance before their state share is projected to fall even more.

“We are not committed to the November election,” Summers said. “The BOE will obviously take this election result as base-line data when deciding what the next move will be. The board recognizes its responsibility to consider the obvious results of this vote and what the public has said. There are big decisions to be made as we consider what the next course of action should be. What we know for sure is that we have to do what is best for kids. We do have serious conditions that must be addressed with our buildings.”

He further explained that the elementary buildings have been inspected by state and private agencies and they all agree that the buildings cannot be renovated or restored. They also don’t have the enrollment to support four elementary buildings.

“We are by no means done trying to fix our problems,” Summers said. “There are a lot of great people that support River View, but just might not have been able to support this issue. Whether we try this solution again in November, or we develop a plan that is not quite as complete but targeted at the most pressing issues and possibly more accepted by the majority will depend on a complete evaluation and analysis of the facts and data we have, combined with the valued thoughts and insight provided by our steering committee.”

Cordell Brown, vice president of the board of education said they have until Aug. 10 to decide if they will proceed with the plan and put it on the November ballot.

“These results were very sad because they hurt the children of River View,” he said. “We knew we had an uphill battle, but something has to be done because we can’t continue with the status of our current buildings.”

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Category: Education

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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