New school for Botkins on the ballot

BOTKINS — Botkins Local School District residents will cast their votes on a 7.99-mill property tax levy on Nov. 8 to build a new school and provide money to maintain those facilities for a maximum of 35 years.
The bond levy will raise the approximate $6.9 million local share of the $24.4 million total project. The school district has done several presentations to the public during the last several months so voters can make an educated vote during the election.
School Superintendent Connie Schneider said district residents are being presented with an opportunity of a lifetime.
“We are focused on what is best for the kids,” Schneider said. “We are saving money by building a school as compared to renovating. It will take care of many needed repairs in a more efficient manner.”
The school, to be built with the state’s Ohio Schools Facilities Commission, was offered at a rate where the local portion will be 25 percent of the total project plus locally funded initiatives. The rate offered was the lowest offered to a school district by the OSFC this year. Figuring in the locally funded initiatives, district voters are paying approximately 28 percent of the total project.
If passed, school district residents will pay approximately $280 per $100,000 of business property and $250 per $100,000 of residential property.
Advocates for the project have said the levy gives the district the optimal opportunity to address repair needs in the district.
The district was evaluated by an independent architectural firm in 2007, which concluded that the district was in need of $16.8 million in repairs to bring the school up to current minimum standards. The most immediate repairs, heating system renovation, roof repairs, electrical system upgrades, and replacing the fire alarm system, total $7 million, virtually even with what it will cost to build new.
As far as opposition to the levy, the main objections have came out of a trailer park on Belle Circle Drive located at the site of the proposed building. Approximately 10 local low-income families stand to lose their homes if the site is purchased from the current owner. Residents at the park say they have a strong sense of community and help each other out.
An elderly resident of the trailer park said her biggest fear was being forced to go to a nursing home or assisted living facility if forced to move.