By GLORIA PLEVA KACIK
The North Royalton Board of Education approved the placement of a 35-year, $49.8 million bond issue for the May 6 ballot. This will be the third time that a school bond issue will be placed on the ballot, after failing in November of 2012 and 2013. If passed in May, it will be first collected in 2015. School District officials note that the bond issue can be used only for facilities costs. By law, it cannot fund operational expenses and salaries. According to district officials, the bond issue would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $7.50 per month or $90 per year. “When all the improvements from this bond issue are made, the district will ultimately save money in lower operating costs because the buildings will be more energy efficient as well,” said School Superintendent, Greg Gurka.
The Board of Education voted 4-1 on both the Resolution of Necessity at a special meeting on January 15 and on a Resolution to Proceed at a second special meeting on January 22. Board member Barbara Zindroski cast the dissenting vote on both resolutions. Zindroski stated that she was against the measure because of the length of the term, 35 years, plus she felt that the plan should be pared down. “I would like to see something lower, passed sooner.” She did acknowledge the need for fixing the infrastructure of the buildings, such as HVAC and electrical items. “They have to get repaired. It’s the added stuff – I’m not for that.”
Board member Anne Reinkober did not agree, saying “everything in the proposed plan is a need.” Board President, John Kelly concurred, saying that the Shape Our Schools’ Future Committee “spent more than a year re-evaluating and reporting. The current plan represents the needs of the district now. This is not glitzy, it’s basic stuff.” Board member Susan Clark noted that by cutting the plan, the cost savings would have little effect on the difference homeowners would pay for the bond. She noted that even if they cut the bond amount in half, “we would still not see significant personal savings.” Board member Jackie Arendt concurred and noted, “I think it’s important to support our schools.”
According to School Officials, “This bond issue includes renovations and repairs to all the schools, including upgraded classroom spaces and infrastructure upgrades. Replacing roofs, HVAC systems, electrical systems, plumbing, windows, and other general finishes are included.
North Royalton High School:
This includes the building of science rooms located in the back of the school and the building of a band, music and community rooms located at the south side of the school building. Also created would be storage space, additional classroom space to relieve congestion, as well as functional needs such as heating/ventilation, roofing, electrical systems, selected windows and general finishes. It also includes the addition of an improved secure entrance for staff and parents/community.
North Royalton Middle School:
Funds would be used for a new roof system and general finish items. It also includes the addition of an improved secure entrance for staff and parents/community.
This includes four kindergarten classrooms in each school, two additional classrooms at Royal View for preschool, core spaces for the schools’ gyms and cafeterias, improved and secure entrances, office space, as well as functional needs such as heating/ventilating, roofing, plumbing, electrical systems, handicapped access and general finishes. Technology issues also will be addressed in all of the buildings.”
The plan also includes the move of Kindergarten and preschool classes back to the elementary school buildings from the Early Childhood Center in Broadview Heights.
“Since the last time the district passed a bond issue in 1987, and then in 1994 to build a new middle school, the Board of Education and administration have made wise, fiscally-responsible decisions on prioritizing what facility issues need to be addressed with the monies available through the permanent improvement fund,” said Gurka. “There is not enough money in the permanent improvement fund to make all the repairs necessary. In fact, if we put every available penny we receive each year from the permanent improvement fund into what we want to accomplish in this bond issue, it would take 49 years to fix everything, assuming nothing else would break. We also would not be able to purchase new buses, technology, or textbooks if we did that. This is not possible with the aging of our buildings, and is the reason why the district has no choice but to go before voters once again to ask for this bond issue money.”
Gurka said that tours of the buildings can be arranged for any resident that would like to view the condition of the buildings. “If any resident has questions or doubts about the needs we are trying to address, I urge them to call me or any one of our principals to schedule a personal tour and meeting,” said Gurka.