At the Grandview Heights City School District, we are so excited to have students and staff back in our classrooms and hallways.

The start of a new school year brings many wonderful opportunities for both academic progress as well as extracurricular options for many of our students. We take great pride in the fact that our schools offer an excellent education and provide a tremendous value to the community.

Yet the fact is that our schools are on average 90 years old and need extensive repairs and improvements. The district's facilities are not serving the needs of today's students. We can't provide a 21st-century education in 20th-century schools.

Our community has come together and studied the critical facility needs in our schools from every angle. The ballot request before voters Nov. 6 reflects more than three years of work and more than 3,600 touch points with our community in helping the district develop a master facilities plan for our aging school buildings.

We must address the needs of our outdated facilities now in order to avoid a financial challenge in the near future. This ballot issue addresses the short- and long-term fiscal health of our district in a responsible manner.

Outdated schools also make it difficult to meet the needs of today's students. For example, our sixth- through 12th-grade science classrooms need updated labs and learning spaces so students can be prepared for the modern college experience.

By renovating or replacing our facilities, the district will:

* Meet 2018 ADA standards to make all the buildings fully accessible to students, staff, and visitors with disabilities.

* Improve safety at each school, including air-locked entrances, security glass and new alarm systems.

* Better meet the needs of today's students.

We are excited for the great academic achievements of our students and staff. The district's Performance Index score of 106.3 is the highest the district has had since the release of the new state report card and is a significant increase from the previous year. Grandview Heights High School is ranked as the 27th best high school in Ohio by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, the class of 2017 accepted more than $3.5 million in merit-based scholarships and 98 percent of seniors are college-bound after graduation.

You can read more about these exceptional academic achievements in our new District Academic Prospectus available on our website.

This is all great news, but the necessity to address the district's aging schools is real. With more than $44 million in needed repairs to ensure the schools meet basic operation standards and only $540,000 available to address these needs, the time to preserve the excellence in our schools is now.

Should you have any questions about the upcoming ballot issue, visit our website, ghcsd.org.

Andy Culp is superintendent of the Grandview Heights City School District.