Career Tech Center has year to convince voters to OK bond issue

Miami Valley Career Technical Center will have until August 2018 to place a rejected bond issue back in front of voters, according to Superintendent Nick Weldy.

“Any of the upcoming election dates within the next year are open for us to go back to the voters,” Weldy said.

According to Rick Savors, spokesman for the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, MVCTC’s countdown starts in July.

With more than 27,000 votes cast from Montgomery, Preble, Miami, Darke, Warren and Butler counties, MVCTC’s bond issue was rejected 52-48 percent.

The bond would have helped pay for about $62.5 million worth of additional classroom space, upgraded technology and improved safety at the 50-year-old campus in Clayton.

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The state agreed to pay 47 percent — or $28.2 million — of the project if voters approved the 30-year bond levy for the remaining $34.3 million.

If the bond issue does not pass by August 2018, MVCTC will lose the state funding match commitment.

The rejected bond issue would have been 1.43 mill for the first 10 years and would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home $50.05 annually over that time period. Over the final 20 years, the figure would have dropped to $38.15 per year after a decrease to 1.09 mill.

When the issue appears in front of voters again will be up to the board of education. Weldy said finding out what they can do differently in the meantime to reach voters is a priority.

“At this point, we have to sit down and look at the data. We have so many different precincts because we serve 27 different districts,” Weldy said. “We need to sit down and look at what the voters told us and look at what other issues won.”

Voter education is another element Wedly views as important, if they’re able to get same issue in front of voters in the future.

“They have to be aware of that. Ultimately they’re in control, they make the decision, they’re the one’s casting their vote,” he said.

VIDEO: MVCTC Superintendent explains levy

The career center provides “highly skilled training” to students and supplies local manufacturers and health care institutions with a workforce, Weldy said.

Without the funding, Weldy said the 200 to 300 students the center denies admission annually would eventually lead to less growth for the entire Miami Valley region.

“I feel sorry for those students. I can’t do much when we don’t have the opportunity to grow as the region grows,” he said.

MVCTC isn’t the only area career tech center turning away hundreds of applicants for lack of openings.

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Butler Tech, a career tech school serving Butler County, announced they had a record number of high school students applying for 2017-2018 school year for 1,000 spots, and the school turned away 600 students.

Butler Tech Superintendent Jon Graft said that while there are expansions being made to their current campus and more satellite programs being added, those changes won’t alleviate the enrollment overflow.

RELATED: Butler Tech turns away hundreds of students

Across the state, 73 percent of school tax issues passed, including 94 percent of renewals and 52 percent of “new money” levies, according to the Ohio School Boards Association.

There are two more elections in 2017 where voters could see the MVCTC issue back on the ballot: A special election may be held Aug. 8, and the Nov. 7 General Election.

Staff Writer Michael D. Clark contributed to this report.

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