Election 2020: Pickerington Schools bond issue fails; Violet Township renewal levy passes

Nate Ellis
ThisWeek group
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Voters in the Pickerington Local School District shot down a bond issue Nov. 3 to build a new junior high school and upgrade existing facilities, while a Violet Township levy to maintain local roads and bridges was renewed.  

With all precincts reporting, the Pickerington Schools' 2.9-mill bond issue failed 15,193 votes to 13,320 votes, 53.28 percent to 46.72 percent, according to unofficial results from the Fairfield County Board of Elections. 

Violet Township's five-year renewal of a 1.5-mill roads and bridge levy was passed 7,886 votes to 4,852 votes, or 61.9 percent to 38.1.

The bond issue would have funded construction of a new junior high school as well as upgrades to existing buildings and athletics facilities.

According to school district officials, the bond issue would have cost owners of a $100,000 residence approximately $102 per year.

Ed Laramie of the Fairfield County Auditor's Office said based on the current total valuation in the school district – which is a little more than $1.5 billion – preliminary estimates showed the issue would have generated about $4.4 million annually.

The school board went to the ballot after an enrollment study during the 2018-19 school year projected the district is expected to increase from 10,600 students to 12,400 within 10 years. The study also found the district likely will see an increase of 1,000 students by the 2023-24 school year.

Revenues from the bond would have financed construction of a new junior high school, serving up to 1,100 students. It would have been built on 66 acres, known as the McGill property, that the district owns on Lockville Road south of Opportunity Way.

The bond also was designed to bring expansions and other upgrades to several buildings, including Ridgeview STEM Junior High, Heritage Elementary and both high schools. 

Additionally, a new stadium for Pickerington High School Central would have been built on the McGill property. 

In Violet Township, trustees placed the renewal levy on the ballot to fund the construction and maintenance of the township's bridges and 108 miles of roadway.

The five-year levy renews one voters initially approved in March 2016.

Each year, the township collects about $770,000 in property-tax revenue to maintain its roads, providing for resurfacing work, snow and ice removal, street-sign maintenance, culvert replacement and mowing the rights of way.

The existing five-year levy expires in 2021. The renewal levy, which according to the Auditor's Office will cost township residents about $42 per $100,000 of property value each year, will go into effect January 2022.