School tour held for bond issue

The West Clermont Local School District is hoping to woo voters into supporting a bond issue in November, and after doing extensive work to see just what voters are willing to support, the district is fielding what it expects will be a winning proposition.

The bond issue campaign officially kicked off this week with a tour of Amelia Elementary School, which will be one of the buildings replaced if the bond issue passes.

Wendy Planicka, communications director for West Clermont Schools, said that the main event to kick off the campaign was a tour of Amelia Elementary school, which was held Friday morning.

The purpose of the tour is, in part, to state the district’s case concerning the replacement of four elementary schools. To this end, the visitors on the tour will see firsthand the condition of Amelia Elementary, as well as hear a variety of other reasons as to why the building is in need of replacement.

“Amelia Elementary is 75 years old,” said Planicka. “In all four of the buildings, there is inadequate wiring for technology. There is also poor handicap accessibility. There are steps in all of the buildings. In Amelia Elementary, the layout of the building is also poor. People get lost if they’ve not been there before. It’s the most unique of the four.”

Last year, the district fielded a similar bond issue to this one, which was defeated. After extensive polling and public input, it was discovered that a main strike against that bond issue was the inclusion of improvements to the high school athletic facilities at both Glen Este and Amelia. The resulting bond attempt will drop that from the issue, leaving only four elementary schools to be replaced.

“It’s 2.5 mills and will replace four elementary schools, Amelia, Brantner, Summerside and Withamsville-Tobasco,” said Planicka. “We had this on the ballot in November and it failed then. We came to the voters that spring and surveyed them to get the sense of what they wanted on the ballot again. We got the sense that they didn’t have any support for the athletic facilities at the high schools, so we dropped those off the ballot this time.”

As for cost to the individual homeowner, Planicka said that it would be minor.

“For a $100,000 house, it’s $6.38 a month,” said Planicka. “For a $150,000 house, it’s $9.57 a month and a $200,000 it’s $12.76 a month.”

As the bond issue continues, Planicka said that there will most likely be other rallies and events to draw support for the issue.

“There will probably be some activities at the individual schools, but they’re just starting the planning phase,” said Planicka. “Last fall, they had a long of ‘bond-fires,’ and there will probably be more this year.”