Schools go back to drawing board

The Tipp City Exempted Village Schools Board of Education said it wants to explore all funding and facilities options before returning to district voters.

The board met in a work session March 22 to review results of the March 15 election in which a proposed 3.98-mill bond issue to build an elementary school was rejected by voters. The outcome was 63 percent against to 37 percent in favor, according to unofficial results from the Miami County Board of Elections.

The board made few decisions that night but did rule out going back to voters in 2016.

It also agreed the district needs to conduct another survey, this time to find out why people voted down the bond issue, and what they would support when it comes to new schools and the district’s deteriorated sports stadium.

Who would do the survey remains to be decided, board president Carla Frame said.

In discussing financial options with district treasurer Dave Stevens, the board asked for more detailed information on the school income tax and projections of the amount of revenues the district will need over the next five years.

“I want to be able to go to voters with a whole package,” board member Sam Spano said.

A survey would help provide much needed feedback on what went wrong in the effort to pass a bond issue for a new school, he said.

Board members said they had heard several comments in the days following the bond issue’s defeat. Theresa Dunaway, board member, said she heard two main comments: that people didn’t understand why the district didn’t sign on for 25 percent state funding for a building and confusion over the proposal with some voters thinking a previously discussed prekindergarten through grade 8 building was proposed.

The latter option was dropped in late May 2015 with the elementary school proposal coming out during facilities planning last summer.

Board member Frank Maus said he thought the proposal was challenged by a new elementary school being “a benefit to a small sliver of the community.”

Superintendent Gretta Kumpf said she has heard from the state asking if the district is interested in again considering using state money to pay for a portion of a project.

“Essentially, everything is wide open now,” Kumpf said.

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