WEST ALEXANDRIA — Residents in the Twin Valley Local Community School District approved the school’s 2-mill permanent improvement levy last week, passing the issue with 55 percent of voters in favor on Tuesday, March 15.
With a permanent improvement levy, the money can only be used for items that have a five-year life expectancy or more. It will go into affect beginning in 2017 and could be up for renewal in 2021. The funds brought in by the tax will be earmarked for permanent improvement use and will not be placed in the school’s general fund.
“Fortunately, what we were asking for made a lot of sense to the district and to the taxpayers, I think, in that we were coming off the bond issue and the maintenance fund dollars dropping off next calendar year,” said Superintendent Clint Moore. “We were able to do this as a new levy but yet, although it was two mills, it was going to be less of a tax burden than the 2.8 mills they are currently paying.”
The most immediate need for the school, which is around 20 years old, is an upgrade to the roofing. It will take several years to complete. They are also looking into co-funding by the Ohio School’s Facility Commission, which will match the school’s funds with a 57-43 share.
“That’s why these kinds of dollars are imperative. Otherwise you are borrowing those dollars, paying interest on those dollars to finish those types of million-dollar projects. No district has a million dollars lying around to put into a project of that scale,” said Moore.
South doesn’t have a definite yes from the state on the co-funding, but they are currently lobbying for the partnership.
Aside from the roofing, several cosmetic and “behind-the-scene” upgrades will also be made to the school.
The Village of West Alexandria also accepted another levy, a 3-mill levy for the WA Fire and EMS Department. That continued show of support speaks volumes about the community, said Moore.
“That’s an endorsement for what we are doing. I think it shows a lot of community support and belief in creating systems that work to benefit everybody. Not everybody has kids in schools but everyone benefits from having good schools,” he said. “I think it shows a lot of integrity for what the community is really about. They believe in their schools, they believe in their fire and safety support systems, and that creates a healthy community.”
Moore will be retiring after this school year, but added that he is happy the school has been set up for future success from the funding being provided.
“It’s a ‘we’ thing. It’s not me. We’ve been able to create that sense of confidence that this community wants to have in the school system. Because of all the hard work of a lot of people, we’ve been able to accomplish that in the five years I’ve been here. I’m just thankful to have the opportunity to be a part of it,” he said.
Reach Jeremy at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.