Xenia students to return to 5 new schools

A 2009 bond issue paid for construction of five elementary schools.

Xenia Community City Schools elementary students will resume classes Tuesday, but they won’t be going back to school — they’ll all be attending new schools.

The Greene County district built five new elementary schools via a $56 million bond issue passed in 2009. This money also will provide funding to maintain and service the new buildings.

“The Ohio School Facilities Commission determined that the old elementary buildings could not be saved,” said Mark Manley, district spokesman. “The cost of the renovations were not economical or practical. The seven buildings were all in bad shape.”

There had been seven elementary schools, which were consolidated into five in 2011 due to financial constraints.

The new schools are Arrowood Elementary, 1588 Pawnee Drive; Cox Elementary, 506 Dayton Ave.; McKinley Elementary, 829 Colorado Drive; Shawnee Elementary, 92 E. Ankeney Mill Road; and Tecumseh Elementary, 1058 Old Springfield Pike.

“Our students will be afforded a safe, clean learning environment that is energy-efficient and that will stimulate learning,” Manley said. “The buildings have much more natural light … brand-new heating and cooling systems, and some additional advantages in educational technology.”

Three of the schools — Cox, McKinley and Tecumseh — were built at or near the site of the previous elementaries of the same names.

The former Arrowood Elementary building, located at 1694 Pawnee and down the street from the new Arrowood, was sold to Summit Academy in 2011. Summit works with developmentally disabled children.

The new Shawnee Elementary will serve the students who attended Spring Hill Elementary, which is scheduled to be razed this month.

The former Simon Kenton Elementary was traded to the city of Xenia for land on the McKinley site, according to Manley. Simon Kenton students will attend the new Arrowood Elementary.

“The entire school (Simon Kenton) has moved as one: All students, all teachers, and all students will remain with the same teachers for the remainder of this year,” Manley said. “The district wanted to keep instructional disruptions to a minimum. The same is true for Spring Hill students and teachers moving to Shawnee.”

The district is evaluating whether there will be a need for redistricting for 2013-14. If there is any reassignment of students, it will be kept to a minimum to avoid disruption.

Construction on the new buildings reportedly went according to schedule and budget, with each school costing about $12.1 million. Manley said the locally funded portion was roughly 51.75 percent and state portion was about 48.25 percent.

Collection on the 2009 bond issue begins this month, and is expected to cost the owner of a $100,000 home $86 per year. That is less than the $98 per year it was estimated to cost that same homeowner in 2009. The change is due to interest rate fluctuation during the period of debt issuance on bond issues.

Xenia Schools will redirect its previous revenue to each new building accordingly, but the district reports continued financial distress. Since 2009, Xenia has seen its revenue decline due to state and federal cuts, reductions to property values and shrinking enrollment.

According to the five-year forecast submitted to the Ohio Department of Education in October, the district cut its total expenditures from $49.7 million in 2011 to $43.7 million in 2012. This was done via the elimination of more than 100 positions, the outsourcing of several departments, the consolidation of facilities and the cutting of elementary music and physical education.

During that time, the district also saw three-straight new-money levies fail. Manley said the district has not yet decided on whether to place another issue on the May ballot.

“We thank our community for voting to build these new schools,” Manley said. “Generations of Xenians will benefit from the use of the buildings.”

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