By SARAH SOLE
ThisWeek Community Newspapers

On March 6, voters will decide Issue 8, a 38-year, $148-million bond issue, at 2.9 mills for the South-Western City School District.

The district needs the issue to satisfy the 50-percent contribution required by the Ohio School Facilities Commission for its facilities assistance program, which would allow SWCS to replace a number of aging buildings.

An OSFC report said if SWCS receives state funding, the project's total cost would be at least $207,354,884, including SWCS and state contributions.

If passed, the issue would be a "no-new millage" issue that won't raise the bond millage rate above 2012 collection levels, district treasurer Hugh Garside said.

Garside said SWCS will retire debt that will equate to about 2.9 mills, or about $89 per $100,000 in

assessed property valuation. Because this debt will be retired, if Issue 8 were passed, voters would continue to pay 6.5 total mills, or about $199 per $100,000 in assessed property valuation. That's what they currently pay.

The project would include building 13 new elementary schools, replacing Franklin Heights High School and making minor renovations to Buckeye Woods and Darby Woods elementary schools. The changes would affect about 8,000 students.

"Finland Elementary and East Franklin Elementary will be combined into one elementary school as neither has the minimum enrollment of 350 students required by the OSFC," said executive director of communications and community relations Sandy Nekoloff.

SWCS currently has about $70 million in deferred maintenance, work that is needed but has been delayed, Nekoloff said. If Issue 8 passes, deferred maintenance would be reduced to $30 million.

"The ability to avoid $40 million in deferred maintenance, plus the state paying $120 million toward the project, will create significant construction and operational savings while providing better educational opportunities for our students," Superintendent Bill Wise said.

The following lists the schools included in the project, with date opened and, in parentheses, dates of renovations or additions: Alton Hall Elementary School, 1960 (1964, 1996); Buckeye Woods Elementary School, 1995; Darbydale Elementary School, 1958; Darby Woods Elementary School, 1995; East Franklin Elementary School, 1956 (1963, 1997); Finland Elementary School, 1964 (1995); Harmon Elementary School, 1950 (1996); Highland Park Elementary School, 1969 (1996); Monterey Elementary School, 1956 (1995); North Franklin Elementary School, 1920 (1938, 1954); Prairie Lincoln Elementary School, 1956 (1961); Prairie Norton Elementary School, 1950 (1967); Richard Avenue Elementary School, 1957; J. C. Sommer Elementary School, 1956 (1967); Stiles Elementary School, 1963 (1995); West Franklin Elementary School, 1954 (1997); Franklin Heights High School, 1955 (1963, 1975, 1984, 1996, 1997, 2000).

RELATED STORY: Issue 8 wins key endorsement

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