Monday, December 7, 2009

A New Middle School ... Now is the Time

Everyone has heard the phrase, "There's no time like the present." I believe this is absolutely true as an opportune situation has presented itself to enhance the learning environment for the students of our school district. The news is spreading regarding the 2.89 mill bond issue for the construction of a new Middle School. This school will house students in grades 5-8 and the issue will appear on the February 2nd ballot. The building, designed for the enrollment of approximately 800 students, will replace the district's two oldest facilities. South School, constructed in 1911, is the home of our 5th and 6th grade students while the Junior High, built in 1923, houses our 7th and 8th graders. The district owns land on North Ohio Street currently farmed by the FFA students. The proposed site of the new school will be across from Rest Haven.

As with previous campaigns, I want to present accurate information regarding the issue and address questions that may arise. As I have begun to meet with different groups, several questions have already been asked.

"How did the district qualify for the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission (OSFC) Exceptional Needs Program?" The State recognized the district had immediate facility problems resulting from the collapse of the Junior High School building in the spring of 2008. This incident drew attention to the deterioration of the South Middle School building. Due to this awareness, State Representative Jim Zehringer introduced and helped pass special legislation enabling Greenville City Schools to participate in the Exceptional Needs Program. This program provides state dollars to the community to co-fund the building project upon passage of the bond issue.

"Why a special election to approve this issue now?" There are several reasons. The district has a limited time to maximize Greenville district residents' savings by taking advantage of current low construction costs, low interest rates, state dollars, and federal stimulus money. The state share of 8.8 million dollars will only be available if the bond issue is passed before September 2010. Additionally, the federal government will pay approximately 10.5 million dollars towards the cost of debt with stimulus funds creating savings for district taxpayers. Finally, under the Exceptional Needs Program, the OSFC will reimburse the district a large portion of the cost paid to reopen the Junior High School as a result of the March, 2008, collapse.

One question I repeatedly receive is, "Will a new High School be built on this same property?" The answer to this is NO. The architects have confirmed the existing acreage owned by the district is not sufficient to build a new High School that would meet OSFC specifications.

Another question being asked is, "How much will this cost Greenville homeowners and farmers?" An owner of a $100,000 home will pay less than 33 cents per day-ora total of $118.65 per year. Farmers who are participating in Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) will pay less than 50 cents an acre, based on average fed and state tax rates.

That question is usually followed by, "Why always tax the property owner?" A property tax only requires half as much effective millage as a school district income tax. This is because all businesses, such as big retailers, pay property tax and help share the tax burden for the community. Corporations do not pay a school district income tax. Also, the federal stimulus money was designed to assist schools with this type of debt.

Finally, many have asked, "What will be done with the South and Junior High buildings once the new building is constructed?" The South building has demolition dollars budgeted within the project, but will also include the option to sell the building should that be in the best interest of the taxpayers. The Junior High has the potential for other uses by the community and will not be demolished.

Now is the time? Definitely! Low interest rates, low construction costs, and a return of approximately 20 million dollars to our community from State and Federal sources. Merging the two aged facilities into one will reduce current costs associated with transportation, staff, instructional supplies, utilities, and maintenance; and will offer advantages for our students as well. Total accessibility for handicapped students, sufficient electrical power for classroom technology, improved heating and air circulation, and up-to-date safety and security features are just a few items that are much needed. There is no time like the present to make a wise investment in the future of our community - our kids.

Susie Riegle, Superintendent, Greenville City Schools

[From this week's edition of The Early Bird]


  1. I think the TRUE answer to "Why a special election to approve this issue now?" is that it is how the last levy passed. So, instead of placing it on the ballot where the majority will once again defeat the issue, the levy will be placed on a ballot where the only thing on the ballot is the school levy and many people will not bother to vote.

  2. Could not agree more - it's time to take advantage of an opportunity.

  3. Question-Along with the new facility, will there be new energy/dollar saving construction used for HVAC and other energy needs?

  4. They only have a small "window of opportunity" for help from the state, and frankly I could care less when they hold an election to try and get funds for a middle school. I am in all of the buildings on a regular basis, and while they are well-maintained and cared for, South and the JH need a major overhaul. A 5-8 building makes perfect sense financially and academically. My kids are grown and out of school, but I do support a new building. The positives just out weigh the negatives......just ask Versailles, Arcanum, FM, and Ansonia.

  5. Regardless of when this is placed on the ballot, I believe we can all agree that this new school is very much needed. We are very fortunate to have so many State dollars available to us at this particular time. We would be short-sighted and foolish to pass up this opportunity.

  6. Wow, great comments all. I couldn't agree more. My kids will be out of school and not able to benefit personally, but good schools equal good communities. We can do this.

  7. I would agree that using state or federal money makes sense, consider that at some point you will have to replace those buildings regardless if you want to or not.
    I would rather buy it for sixty cents on the dollar than buy it for 100% of the cost.

  8. Every time I read an article about a nearby town breaking ground for their new school, I am saddened that I am not reading about Greenville breaking ground for their new building.

    Isn't it about time we keep pace with our neighboring districts such as Arcanum and Versailles, etc.?

    Please, please, let everyone do the right thing and get this levy passed and please, please, ensure that our hard-earned taxes are spent wisely.

  9. I am so glad to see such well-thought comments on this issue. (I keep waiting for some troll that doesn't get it, or does not understand what is being proposed to come along and start bashing.)
    Guest #1 made a good comment-yes it will cost us, but it sure is a lot less now than it would be later.
    Alex-I understand what you mean, but I don't think it's an issue about "keeping up". The other districts were/are in as much need for updated and new facilities as Greenville is.They were just smart enough to finally pass their levies to do so.
    Annon. and Mike understand it all too. The phrase "get it while the gettin' is good" is very appropriate.
    Those people with kids currently in grades K-3 should be for this...everyone else will need to be EDUCATED on the pluses of a middle school,and the future and current savings to the district, which in turn will save everyone in Greenville some $$. If you run into a neigh-sayer, don't argue.... TALK to them, and encourage them to TALK to the superintendent!
    OK -I blabbed enough!

  10. This is a well written article and a good synopsis of why this is the right project for Greenville voters to support.

  11. One question: Is this enough? If a new 5-8 is built will the elementary and high schools last 30 years until the middle school is paid? Most likely property owners will experience an overlap and be paying for multiple buildings at once. The difference is that the next building would cost more to construct and there may be less or no State dollars to help.

    For the same reasons given by Ms. Riegle, why not take advantage of the situation now? I realize the economy is hard on everyone, but look at the big picture. A tax increase might be tough now, but the economy is already starting to slowly improve. Chances are a 30-year bond issue will go through more than one recession. Building more now will be cheaper in the long run.

    Anyone knowledgeable about the existing buildings please chime in.

  12. To Racer: Just cause someone has a different opinion, does not make them a troll.

  13. missed the point. People here are giving thoughtful answers. A troll is someone that would offer a different opinion in an argumenitive manner to try and intice a "fight"...which this board does not need. All REASONABLE comments would be more than welcome

  14. John....welcome. You are the first troll.

  15. Mike... I was not trying to start a arguement, I was giving my opinion. So you are nothing but a dumbass!

  16. Oh yeah...I swear to make my opinion. That is what I think 'ol Racer is talking about. A troll is someone that can't make a point without resorting to snide remarks or profanity. Not only don't recognize sarcasim when you read it. Therefore, you are a budding troll, mainly because you didn't give an opinion on this story, you went after someone else. You made a rather dumb statement to Racer (who I think is a fairly smart dude and never hurts anyone with his comments). So, if you have some thing to say about the ARTICLE, say it. Don't swear. Don't put any of the people involved down or other commenters down, and make a reasonable point. Otherwise, just go away.

  17. Mike why don,t you go away. You made no intelligent comments about the article. You only said it makes perfect sense financially and academically. How???? You didn't back up your statement with facts. My comment was to Racer, not you. It was not a dumb statement. I have a feeling you are like Obama. If anyones opinion isn't the same as his, you are a thug. Let me tell you something Mike. I fought for this country, because I love this country. I have every right to my opinion. My opinion to Racer was not to start a fight, it was just pointing something out. You are the one who started the fight, by calling me a troll. Then I responsed by calling you a dumbass. Which one is worse? I will continue to express my opinions, and if you don't like it. Then you go away. Have a nice day!

  18. both are acting like morons. John - I respect your opinion - whatever it may be, but please. If you, and Mike, are reading what has been said by others so far, you have both missed the mark. Let's have some civil conversation, or find another venue to air you anger toward each other. Regards, Racer.

  19. Why did Ms. Reigle say the Jr. High building collapsed when it did nothing of the kind? Some masonary trim fell off. We agree that could have been dangerous but it was not a collapse. To call it something that it isn't is "spin". The building was and is designed to support one or two more floors. It needs work but is solid. Be truthful, unlike the previous campaign as in the Greenville School District takes in more money per student than any other district in Darke County. It did before the levy and most certainly does now. Be truthful with the people.


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