By ERIC SCHAADT
HAMLER — A levy on the May primary ballot would help pay for building renovations proposed by Patrick Henry School District officials, who want to consolidate the district’s classes onto one campus while closing its two elementary buildings.
On the ballot is a 1.9-mill replacement levy for a continuing period. If approved, the levy would generate $259,428 annually, according to Henry County Auditor Kevin Garringer.
The owner of a house appraised at $100,000 would pay $66.50 a year.
The tax, which has been on the books for about 30 years, today brings in $145,000 annually, school officials said.
Replacing the levy, as opposed to renewing it, will mean more money for the district. When property values rise, Ohio’s schools are not allowed to receive more property tax revenue without voter consent. Passage of the replacement levy would allow the 1.9-mill tax to be collected on current property valuations.
Consolidation of district buildings would reduce the time elementary students spend on buses, according to Patrick Henry Superintendent Tom Taylor.
“They lose 40 minutes a day in instructional time due to busing,” Taylor said.
If the levy request is passed, Deshler Elementary School and Malinta-Grelton Elementary School would be shuttered.
Currently, principals, nursing staff and guidance counselors travel among the school buildings.
“We would have all of our people together,” Taylor said of the plan.
Designs call for adding 12 classrooms to Patrick Henry Middle School, which then would house grades kindergarten through six.
Eight classrooms would be added to the high school, which would hold grades seven through 12, school officials said.
Total enrollment stands at 950 students, and that has declined by 109 students in the past five years, the superintendent said.
The two elementary buildings would be auctioned.
“We’ve explored our options for two years,” Taylor said, adding that having one campus is ” the most economical plan.”
The original portion of the Malinta school building is 85 years old while the original Deshler school is 92 years old, he noted.
Renovations at the middle school and high school would cost $8 million, with $2 million to be borrowed against the proposed permanent improvement levy, and $6 million to be borrowed against savings from closing two elementary buildings, according to the superintendent.
Restructuring the district from four buildings to two would translate into a savings of $350,000 a year.
School officials said the district spends $50,000 a year on repairs to the two elementary buildings.
In addition to adjusting class spaces, the levy would help fund renovations of athletic areas.
Voters in portions of Henry, Wood and Putnam counties will cast ballots on this issue.
With the tax approved as a continuing levy, the district also would be able to fund future building and technology needs.
Elsewhere on the spring ballot, Holgate voters will be presented with two recreational levies.
A 2-mill additional levy for five years would generate $24,838 a year for operations at the village swimming pool.
A person with a home appraised at $100,000 would pay $70 annually, the auditor’s office said.
A 1-mill additional levy for a continuing period is being sought for village park improvements. It would bring in $12,419 annually. A person with a home appraised at $100,000 would pay $35 a year.
Deshler voters will be asked to support a 2.1-mill additional levy for five years to fund police protection services.
It would bring in $42,275 annually. A person with a home appraised at $100,000 pays $73.50 annually.
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