By KATHRYNE RUBRIGHT
Liberty-Benton school board unanimously voted Tuesday morning to make an offer to purchase 10 acres south of the high school along Hancock County 9.
The school district does not have specific plans for the property, but it’s “prudent” to purchase the adjacent land, Superintendent Mark Kowalski said after the meeting.
Kowalski was authorized to offer $115,000 for the property, which is owned by Larry E. Porter, Diane C. Snyder and Loretta K. Porter as trustees of the Larry E. Porter Living Trust.
The money will come from the district’s permanent improvement fund, Kowalski said. That fund held about $1.8 million as of August, Treasurer Lisa Dobbins said.
As part of the deal, Larry Porter and Snyder will receive $5,000 each in earnest money.
The 10 acres Liberty-Benton intends to purchase are part of the trust’s 40-acre parcel located on the west side of Hancock County 9 in Liberty Township, across the road from Gateway Church.
“That fit within our budget,” Kowalski said of the decision to buy 10 of the available acres. And “that would take care of any kind of future plans,” he said.
Those plans could include practice fields or a transportation facility, Kowalski said.
As to whether plans could include a new school building, “that’s a decision that the board and the community will have to make,” he said.
“It just gives us an opportunity,” Kowalski said. “We’re not landlocked, so to speak, now.”
In November 2013, voters rejected a 6.5-mill tax package that would have generated $19.7 million toward building a new K-8 school, with the Ohio School Facilities Commission paying the rest of the $31.9 million price tag.
That measure, which also would have generated about $79,500 annually for maintenance, failed with 913 votes against and 814 in favor, or about 53 percent to 47 percent.
Proposed tax issues also failed in August and November 2008.