May 4 election: Pickerington Schools voters soundly defeat bond issue

Nate Ellis
ThisWeek group

For the second time in six months, voters have rejected a 2.9-mill bond for the construction of a new junior high school for Pickerington Schools, as well as expansions and upgrades to buildings.

The bond issue, which was designed to generate $95 million that the district could pay down in 38 years or less, was defeated by a vote of 3,688 (61.01%) against the bond, to 2,357 (38.99%) for it, according to unofficial results May 4 from the Fairfield County Board of Elections.  

Pickerington Schools administrative building

The district extends into Franklin County, where 23 votes were cast, with 13 in favor of the issue and 10 against it.

The bond failure comes after voters rejected the same request by the district by a tally of 15,434 (53.15%) to 13,602 (46.85%) on Nov. 3.

The bond issue on the May 4 ballot would have cost homeowners $101.50 annually per $100,000 of home value – or $8.46 a month, per $100,000 home value – according to Ryan Jenkins, district treasurer.

District officials have said the funding is needed to make space for enrollment that's projected to increase by 1,800 students by 2028-29.

It would have provided funding for the district to build a new junior high school that could serve up to 1,100 students on the former McGill property, a 66-acre tract the district owns on Lockville Road, south of Opportunity Way.

The bond issue also was designed to provide money to expand the cafeteria and add 24 classrooms at Pickerington High School Central and the construction of 18 classrooms at Pickerington High School North.

Throughout the campaign, school officials said the bond also would provide money for security upgrades at district buildings. 

The district had planned to convert Ridgeview STEM Junior High School into a K-4 and 5-6 building and renovate Heritage Elementary into a prekindergarten learning center, which was designed to free up classroom space at Sycamore Creek, Tussing and Violet elementary schools.

The bond issue also was to provide funding for athletics facilities upgrades.

At Central, it would have enabled the completion of an auxiliary stadium on the McGill property, including the installation of a synthetic-turf field. 

Likewise at North, the bond issue would have funded construction of practice fields adjacent to the high school and Lakeview Junior High School and the installation of synthetic turf at the stadium. Lighting would have been installed at the softball complex.

nellis@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNate