Johnstown Independent

'It's Time' indeed

Results were back and forth, but Johnstown-Monroe bond issue prevailed on Election Night

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(From left) Paul Garland, Joey Robertson, Jay Hazelbaker and Gia Kaul watch election results come in on Kaul's phone at the Old Horseshoe Restaurant & Tavern on Tuesday evening, May 6.

The majority of Johnstown-Monroe Local School voters agree it's time for new schools in the village.

The theme of a committee rallying support for the bond issue was "It's Time."

The measure in the May 6 election passed 1,252 to 1,077 votes, or 53.76 to 46.24 percent,, according to unofficial results from the Licking County Board of Elections.

In Delaware County, the issue received 10 no votes to one yes vote, according to unofficial results there.

Committee volunteer Jay Hazelbaker said he's pleased with the outcome.

"It certainly was no small issue, but I think people recognized that something needed to get done and this was the most reasonable course of action available," he said. "The community deserves a lot of credit for coming out and really supporting the effort. To be successful, that's what needed to happen, and it did.

"Now we can plan for our kids' and community's future with a greater degree of confidence that our facilities will be up to the task."

J-M school board president Ruth Ann Booher told ThisWeek the election results make the Johnstown community a "field of dreams" both for the expansion of the schools and for potential economic development.

"The work is just beginning for all of us, but what a privilege and opportunity we have to continue working together," she said. "The community group conducted a very positive and thorough campaign. It was rewarding to see the involvement of so many residents in this effort."

Booher said the school board would exercise great care in representing the residents of Johnston while the district works with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to build the new schools.

"We would invite residents to stay involved in the process," she said. "(Their) input is invaluable."

Voters approved an 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.

It's expected to generate $1,865,231 annually for 38 years.

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

The bond will 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 will be constructed on land at the Searfoss Elementary School/Johnstown-Monroe High School campus, likely on the practice field behind the high school.

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 state 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 will be entirely locally funded.

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

District treasurer Tammy Woods 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.


Northridge voters approve renewal levy

Northridge Local School District residents also said yes to a tax issue.

The five-year, 8.8-mill levy for emergency requirements was approved 1,109 votes to 872 votes, or 55.98 to 44.02 percent, according to unofficial results from the Licking County Board of Elections.

Superintendent Chris Briggs called the levy passage a great victory for students, staff members and the district.

"The passage of this renewal levy allows our district to recruit and retain quality teachers, provide our students access to technology, purchase textbooks and pay utilities for our learning campuses," he said. "We know that many of our residents are still struggling, and that is why the board of education made this levy as lean as possible -- a renewal levy that will not increase taxes while still moving this great district forward."

The renewal levy is for an effective rate of 8.8 mills. It will continue to cost homeowners $269.50 annually per $100,000 of assessed property value, according to the Licking County Auditor's Office.

Money generated from the levy amounts to $2.1 million out of a $12 million annual budget.

Briggs said Northridge has done an excellent job of reducing expenses while protecting the staff and programs the community values.

"Our district is committed to cost control and has made $4 million in reductions over the last two years to ensure the leanest budget possible while still maintaining programs and services that help our students become college- and career-ready," he said. "We are very appreciative to our Northridge community for the trust that they have shown to our schools. The future is bright for Northridge Local Schools."