The Prairie Township Board of Trustees has not officially endorsed Issue 8, but members said at their Jan. 25 meeting that passage of the issue would help improve the township.

The Prairie Township Board of Trustees has not officially endorsed Issue 8, but members said at their Jan. 25 meeting that passage of the issue would help improve the township.

Voters in the South-Western City School District will vote March 6 on the 2.9-mill bond issue on March 6. If approved, it will allow for the replacement of 13 elementary schools, four of which are located in Prairie Township.

Trustee Steve Kennedy said the new buildings coincide with the beautification plans trustees have in mind for the township in the next few years.

"To me, the issue is a no-brainer," Kennedy said. "Prairie Township would get four new buildings and hopefully, it will be local people building those buildings."

Hugh Garside, SWCS treasurer, presented facts and figures regarding Issue 8 at the trustees' Jan. 25 meeting.

"Our buildings are getting older," Garside said. "In the long run, this will save us (money) operationally."

Garside said the district estimated that it would need to spend at least $40 million for the maintenance of the current buildings, most of which were built in the 1950s.

Passage of Issue 8 will provide for the replacement of 13 elementary school buildings, two renovated elementary school buildings and a new Franklin Heights High School. The $240 million project will be half funded by the Ohio School Facilities Commission, with the other half funded by the bond issue, he said.

Garside said the district can fund its share without increasing annual costs to taxpayers. Passage of Issue 8 will keep the current collection rate at or below 2012 levels because of retiring debt, he said.

"We will not have to collect more taxes or issue new debt," Garside said. "The state of Ohio will kick in half the project amount, which is $120 million."

Garside said all of the state funds and the bond issue funds will be used for new facilities, building renovations and other permanent improvements. It will not be used for operating costs, salaries or benefits, he said.

Garside said the project is a big endeavor, but it will give the area a new look.

"With all these new buildings out here it will make the area look nice," Garside said. "It's a positive for everybody."

Kennedy said he has been against school issues in the past, but does not hesitate to encourage the community to vote for the March 6 issue.

"To get 50-year-old buildings replaced, ... I don't know how anybody can be against it," he said.