CUYAHOGA FALLS — It looks likely that voters in the Cuyahoga Falls City School District will decide the fate of a proposed 9.83-mill tax issue in the Nov. 5 election. At stake is a $113.8 million plan to combine students in sixth through 12th grades into one school building. The state would pay $33.2 million of the cost.
On Thursday, the Cuyahoga Falls Board of Education voted 4-1 to send a resolution to the County Fiscal Officer to certify the measure, which is a combined bond issue and operating levy.
The tax issue would be divided three ways:
? A 4-mill levy for the district’s operating budget, that would be effective for 10 years and would raise around $3.1 million a year;
? A 5.33-mill, 36-year bond issue that would generate about $80.6 million; and
? A 0.5-mill continuing permanent improvement levy. The funds from this levy would be put in a maintenance fund for the new construction.
Board member David Martin cast the dissenting vote. He could not be reached for comment by press time, but in previous meetings expressed concern about having a bond issue and operating levy combined into one, and a wish to include more towards a permanent improvement levy.
"We are enthusiastic and will be meeting with the levy committee this evening," said Superintendent Todd Nichols after the meeting.
In the levy, the 5.83 mills — the bond issue and the permanent improvement levy — will cost the homeowner about $204 a year per $100,000 of property valuation, Nichols said. The 10-year, 4-mill operating levy will cost the homeowner $140 a year for $100,000 of property valuation.
The school board must also pass a second resolution, which is scheduled for a vote on Aug. 1, Nichols said. This resolution, if passed, would send notice to the Summit County Board of Elections requesting the levy be placed on the ballot.
If it goes on the fall ballot and is approved, the entire issue would cost homeowners $344 per $100,000 of their home’s value each year.
The 5.33-mill bond issue would fund both the local share of the co-funded part and the locally funded initiatives to build a new school building, Nichols said.
The co-funded part of the plan totals $89.7 million — $56.5 million, or 63 percent of the cost, would be generated locally; $33.2 million, or 37 percent of the cost, would be paid for by the state. The locally funded initiatives are about $24 million, which brings the total cost of the facilities project to $113.8 million.
The first phase of a two-phase project recommended by the district’s Master Facilities Committee includes the construction of a proposed new sixth through 12th grade school building. Newberry Elementary and Bolich Middle schools would be demolished. Nichols said the building would be 350,000 to 370,000 square feet.
If the levy is placed on the ballot and approved by voters, Nichols said the proposed order of action is:
• Demolish Newberry Elementary School
• Relocate Laybourne Field and construct a new stadium
• Construct the sixth through eighth grade portion of the building
• Move students from Roberts Middle School and Bolich Middle School into the newly constructed portion of the facility
• Demolish Bolich Middle School
• Construct the ninth through 12th grade portion of the new facility complete with the Performing Arts Center and Black Box Theater
• Move students from the high school into the newly constructed facility
Nichols added that to date, no decisions have been made regarding segment two of the Master Facilities Plan, which would cover the district’s pre-kindergarten through fifth grade buildings. A Master Facilities Planning Committee will be reconvened on the elementary buildings plan "as Segment One comes to fruition," he said.
Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, email@example.com, or @AprilKHelms_RPC