Saturday, February 1, 2003

Replacing 1929 school on the ballot

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

This is the last in a series of stories previewing Tuesday's special election.

OXFORD - Stewart Elementary School would be replaced by a larger building if voters in the Talawanda Schools approve a $19.5 million bond issue Tuesday.

But educators in this district of 3,211 students admit they are fighting an uphill battle - their second in six months. In November a similar bond issue failed by 88 votes.

In the past 22 years, voters here rejected 22 of 26 ballot issues put before them, said James Rowan, treasurer.

"There's a pretty large contingent out there that thinks a no vote will force the state to take action, (on school funding) but that's not what's going to happen," said Treasurer James Rowan. "The funding formula is separate from construction."

There are few options to fund schools - whether operations or buildings, said Glenn Bailey, president of the Talawanda Board of Education.

Stewart, built in 1929, would be replaced with a larger school that would be built on 31 acres at Kehr and Booth roads. Taxes on a $100,000 house would increase about $76 until the building is paid for in about 27 years, Rowan said.

Money also would pay for gymnasiums at Maud Marshall Elementary, Kramer Elementary and the middle school, along with classroom additions at the middle and high schools and other improvements.


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