Thursday, November 09, 2000

Lakota levy to add 2 schools

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP — By year's end residents of the Lakota Local School District should know where the school board plans to build the district's fourth junior school and 11th elementary school.

        Tuesday's passage of a 6.74-mill combination levy paved the way for the board to finish negotiations on the purchase of land, said board President Sandy Wheatley. The levy includes a 4.9-mill operating levy that will provide $8.3 million for day-to-day operations, and a 1.84-mill bond issue.

        “We've been looking for land for over a year,” Mrs. Wheatley said. “We're negotiating on price for both the elementary and junior school.”

        The $44.5 million from the bond issue will be used to construct the schools and fund repairs to Lakota's oldest schools where boilers and roofs need to be repaired or replaced, said Superintendent Kathleen Klink. It also will pay for the addition of classrooms, weight rooms and field houses for Lakota East and West high schools, and additional computers for classroom use.

        Besides negotiating for the land the board will begin the design phase for the new schools, prepare construction bids for improvement projects and begin negotiations with Lakota's three employee groups, Mrs. Klink said. Work is expected to begin early next year, weather permitting.

        Architects Steed-Hammond-Paul Inc. and Turner Construction will meet today with Mrs. Klink to outline a schedule so the new schools can open by fall 2002. Comments from parents, teachers, administrators and the community will be sought for the design of the new facilities.

        “It's really going to be pushing us to get the schools open,” Mrs. Klink said. “We lost a construction season when we didn't pass it in March.”

        ãOfficials of the Talawanda School District are ready to implement an already negotiated plan to increase teacher pay following Tuesday's 7,954 to 4,573 passage of a 6.5-mill operating. Two previous money issues had failed at the polls in the last 18 months.

        The 4.5 percent average increase should bring all Talawanda's teachers to the middle range of Butler County's 10 school districts, said Phil Cagwin, assistant superintendent. It is retroactive to the start of school.

        Mr. Cagwin said the $600,000 spending cuts imposed this year would continue until the end of the school year.


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