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  • River Valley bond issue wins big

    Wednesday, November 8, 2000

    Tom Sheehan
    Dispatch Staff Reporter

    Doral Chenoweth III / Dispatch

    Supporters of a bond issue for the River Valley school district cheer election results. At left is Jo Greenwood, who co-chaired the campaign for the issue. The district plans to build two schools and relocate and build two others that are on former U.S. Army land contaminated with chemical waste.

    MARION, Ohio -- Cheers erupted throughout the evening from supporters of the River Valley school district as a $19.6 million bond issue to help rebuild the district cruised to victory.

    In final, unofficial returns, the tax won approval with 60 percent of the vote.

    The campaign focused on tying state and federal funds to local money to build two new, bigger elementary schools and relocate the high- and middle-school campus from former U.S. Army land contaminated with chemical waste.

    School Superintendent Tom Shade last night donned a T-shirt that said, "Opportunity Knocked. River Valley Answered.''

    "I am so happy and so excited for the students and the district,'' he said. "We are going to rebuild a school district.''

    The battle to pass a bond issue for the 1,700- student district has been tough. Twice in the past year, voters rejected requests to replace the district's three old and overcrowded elementaries.

    Yesterday's passage -- spurred by reports of contamination on the high- and middle-school campus -- will help pay for two new elementary schools and also to relocate the high school and middle school.

    Some residents have said they believe higher- than-normal leukemia and other possible health problems are the direct result of the schools being built on a former military depot where chemical waste was dumped for years.

    However, government and school officials believe the most contaminated areas near the school have been fenced off or restricted and that any health threats are minimal. Air and water monitoring continues.

    The federal government has promised $15 million for the new high school and middle school; the state is kicking in another $8.9 million for all the schools.

    It could be three years before the new high school and middle school are completed and the 800 students are moved.

    Construction of the new elementary schools also is expected to take about three years. Several potential sites are being explored.

    In other surrounding counties:

  • On the fourth try, the Benjamin Logan Local School District in Logan County passed a three- year, 6.25-mill levy that will keep the district afloat. The levy passed by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent, staving off more deep cuts.

  • By an unofficial tally of 68 percent, voters in Perry County's Northern Local School District were passing a $6.5 million bond issue to build a new high school and two elementary schools.

  • The Wilmington City Schools saw a proposed 1-percent income tax increase voted down 61 percent to 39 percent. The tax would have raised roughly $3.3 million a year for eight years.

  • Ross County voters rejected a pair of school issues.

    The Chillicothe City School District saw its five-year, $4.5-mill levy defeated,56 to 44 percent. The district also lost issues in May and August. The Zane Trace Local School District also had its third request in a row defeated. Voters decided against renewal of a 0.5 percent income tax, 52 to 48 percent.

  • Scioto County's Wheelersburg schools also lost a third straight levy request. Voters defeated a three- year, 3.9-mill levy, 59 to 41 percent.

  • In Hardin County, voters in the village of Ada overwhelmingly defeated measures to allow salary increases for the mayor and council members, 82 to 18 percent.

    Mark Beckenbach contributed to this story.


    Copyright 2000, The Columbus Dispatch