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Medina school board mulls bond issue for security, air conditioning

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MEDINA — After passing a 5.2-mill substitute continuous levy in May for operating expenses, Medina Schools is considering a bond issue.

At a school board work session Tuesday, Superintendent Aaron Sable said a bond issue could help maintain facilities. He said it also could go toward school security/safety and air conditioning for the middle and elementary schools.

“What a bond issue would do is would bring in extra monies specifically for facilities,” Sable said.

Sable said the district allowed its permanent levy to lapse once voters countywide approved 0.5 percent sales tax increase in 2007 for permanent improvements.

The district receives about $1.2 million a year in sales tax revenue, but Sable said more is needed to keep up with renovations.

“The sales tax isn’t enough for a district our size to get everything done,” he said. “Even the new buildings have issues.”

He said if a bond issue is in place, more of the general fund can go toward academics.

Sable said grants sometimes are available for capital projects, but the state considers Medina a wealthy district and it doesn’t qualify for the grants.

The earliest a bond issue could go on the ballot would be next year’s primary election.

Sable said the district’s business director, Jon Burkhart, has contacted the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to tour Medina’s facilities.

“They look at everything across the board,” Sable said. “They come in and assess. They will even look at our new buildings, but the focus will be on our older facilities.”

The construction commission is responsible for guiding capital projects for public schools.

The commission “will do a tour of our district and provide us with recommendations with our facilities,” Sable said. “I have some specific concerns, but it would be nice to hear from the professionals who deal in the industry so (it) can give us feedback.”

A point of concern for Sable is Claggett Middle School, where some students attend classes in trailers.

“I think we can do better than that,” he said. “That’s something I would want to discuss with the community (in regard to) a bond issue.”

He also would like to expand Claggett, which opened in 1956, originally as Medina Senior High School, and to give it a facelift.

Another concern is getting air conditioning in buildings that don’t have it. Many of the elementary schools have air conditioning units in windows, but very few have central air.

Sidney Fenn and Ella Canavan elementary schools and Claggett were closed Wednesday because of temperatures in the 90s.

Of the bond issue, Sable said: “I wanted to let the community know it’s in the back of our heads — actually, it’s in the front of my head — and it’s something we’re looking into to make our district better.

“I do recognize we just passed an operating levy. I feel like I need to emphasize we’re appreciative (of passing the levy) and it allowed us to move forward with our strategic plan.

“Those operating monies are different than those received through a bond. Right now, because we have limited finances available for facilities, we have to dip into our general fund to make sure things are up to par.”

In other news

Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital has agreed to provide Life Support Team service for home football games at Medina High School football at no cost to the district.

Unlike in previous years, LST will not provide service at other sports events.

“They don’t have the manpower to cover all of those events,” Sable said.

He said if there was an emergency, the response time from Medina Hospital is no longer than five to 10 minutes.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.
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