Johnstown Independent

Johnstown-Monroe

Bond campaign counting on high supporter turnout

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Residents in the Johnstown-Monroe Local School District will decide Tuesday, May 6, whether it's time for new educational facilities.

"It's time" has been the campaign theme of a group that has been rallying support for new schools.

Voters face a proposed 8-mill tax issue, with 7.5 mills for bonds to construct and renovate school facilities and 0.5 mill for permanent improvements to maintain the new buildings.

If voters approve the measure, it's expected to generate $1,865,231 annually for 38 years.

Homeowners would pay an additional $280 annually per $100,000 of assessed property value, or $23.33 per month.

The bond would finance a new building to house kindergarten through fifth grade on 11 acres of district property within the Leafy Dell subdivision.

A new high school for grades 9-12 would be constructed on land at the existing Searfoss Elementary School and Johnstown-Monroe High School campus, most likely on the practice field behind the high school.

Committee volunteer Jay Hazelbaker said the community group focused on providing information people needed and wanted in order to better understand the need for new schools.

"We have such a good opportunity to make a positive impact on the future of the kids and the community," he said. "Now it's a matter of everyone coming out to cast their ballot."

At the recommendation of the community-based group, the school board took action Jan. 30 to place the issue on the May ballot. The group recommended and the board approved a proposal for a shared project with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission for the K-5 building at Leafy Dell, a new 9-12 building on the existing high school campus and a partially renovated high school for middle school use.

The renovation would have to be entirely locally funded.

Johnstown-Monroe would have to raise 71 percent of total costs locally, with the state contributing 29 percent, for the shared building projects.

If the issue is approved, treasurer Tammy Woods said, she estimates $29.7 million would be spent on the district's master plan for a new high school and elementary school, with $6.16 million going toward the locally funded initiative to refurbish the high school and provide infrastructure needs, for a total project cost of $35.86 million.

The high school renovation would include new heating and ventilating equipment, water and sewer improvements, electrical subpanels for electrical capacity to classrooms, technology upgrades, roof replacement at the library and performing-arts center, a secured vestibule entrance and a new gym floor and bleachers.

Johnstown-Monroe High School turns 50 years old next year. It was built in 1965.

Adams Middle School was built in 1927; Oregon Elementary, 1951; and Searfoss Elementary School, 1961.

If the bond issue is approved, design is scheduled to begin in July, with construction completed in about three years.

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