If approved, Issue 8 on the May 5 ballot will help the Northridge Local Schools build a new facility that will house grades pre-K through 12.
This is according to the Masters Facilities Plan that the school district is working on with the Ohio School Facilities Commission, in light of the state’s announcement in October about Northridge being eligible for funding from the commission’s Facilities Assistance Program.
Approval of Issue 8 will allow the school district to be in line for nearly $42 million in state funding.
The district must raise nearly $13.6 million to get the state funding. Therefore the district is seeking approval of a 38-year 4.92-mill bond issue and a 23-year .5-mill levy.
“The state is planning to spend this money on OSFC projects somewhere, and my belief is our kids and our community deserves this,” said Northridge Superintendent Dave Jackson. “We’d rather they spend that money here than somewhere else across the state.”
Construction of the new school could cost up to $55 million, according to information provided by the district and the state.
“Our programs provide funding for students with developmental disabilities since the district has an obligation to educate them under federal law,” said Rick Favors, commission spokesman. “Many districts also want to run pre-kindergarten programs with children without disabilities. But, since they are not mandated to educate those children, the state doesn’t pay for that space. Districts such as Northridge then add their own funding to the project budget to cover that extra cost.”
Money generated by Issue 8 will also be used for the purposes of new construction, improvements, renovations and additions to school facilities and maintaining facilities.
“Our buildings are all more than 50-years-old. It’s becoming very difficult for the upkeep and maintenance on those buildings. This would secure our futures for the next 50 to 75 years, and we’re excited about that opportunity,” Jackson said.
Tina Fiore, president of Northridge’s Board of Education, said she is excited about the opportunity the district has to bring new technology to its students.
“One of the big areas that we cannot improve on in this school district without the money (generated from Issue 8) is the infrastructure in order to bring technologies to our students,” Fiore said. “With the way that the work industry in the world is going these days, if we are not able to give our students the opportunity to understand and learn about technology, as early as even kindergarten, then we are really cheating our students.”
The Montgomery County Auditor’s Office reported in February that the average home located in the district was valued at $46,300. Both the bond issue and the tax levy will cost this type of homeowner an additional $87.83 a year in property taxes.
As of April 21, there were 15,340 registered voters living in Harrison Twp., according to the Montgomery County Board of Elections. The district also includes some registered voters who live in the city of Dayton.
Joseph Williams, who said he has a sixth- and a ninth-grader in the district, plans to vote against Issue 8.
“They just passed a levy not too long ago to get additions, new fields and all that, and I think that’s enough,” Williams said. “I don’t plan on paying anymore.”
The last levy issue was a 6.95-mill additional continuing operating levy that passed in 2011.
Norma Poland, another resident, said she would vote in favor of Issue 8, which is not an operating levy.
“I just think we need it for the children and for the whole area,” she said.