Superintendent seeks teachers’ help in levies, new Oberlin Schools campus

By Valerie Urbanik -

Educators are focused on passing two renewal levies in March before tackling a bond levy to fund a new Oberlin Schools campus.

Superintendent David Hall met with Eastwood Elementary School staff Monday to discuss the district’s upcoming levies and the construction of a new preschool-through-12th grade building. Meetings with educators at other buildings are being planned.

The Oberlin board of education voted in August to remove a $16.7 million bond issue from the November ballot and wait until next year to bring it before voters.

Eastwood principal Sue Alig said part of the reason the board decided to postpone the construction levy was to give the Oberlin staff and community more time to learn about the project.

Hall wants the bond to appear before voters in November 2016. However, there has not been an official vote by the board to do so.

“The new buildings in 2016 are going to be hard to sell to the community,” he told Eastwood staff.

He is seeking teachers’ help in evangelizing to parents and residents about how new buildings will help improve the Oberlin school district.

Hall said he believes residents are more worried about the bond issue than the two renewal levies that may appear before voters in March — a two-mill permanent improvement and a $940,000 operating levy.

“The renewals are very critical to pass,” he said. They help pay for maintenance of Oberlin’s current buildings, salaries, and programs for students.

The new superintendent said he wants teachers to reach out to him and the principals to let them know what they are interested in seeing in a new building and areas that need improved in the current buildings.

Residents have expressed concerns to Hall that they do not want elementary students in the same building as high school students. He said a locked door could be used to separate the two age groups from mingling with each other.

The designs that have been shown to the board and community remain a rough sketch, Hall said: “Those designs are not concrete.”

Administrators have visited other schools to see how buildings are laid out and to get more ideas.

“There are a lot of possibilities you can have to impact the education,” he said. “We’re going to involve the community in designing the new buildings.”

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.

By Valerie Urbanik