Board of education members’ annual goal-planning retreat June 23 came at a challenging time for the Oberlin school district.
Facing vocal opposition to a proposed $35.5 million pre-kindergarten through 12th grade school that would’ve replaced the district’s four schools, officials for a second straight year withdrew plans for a levy. The June 13 decision was in response to residents who said they couldn’t afford the school and asked that the existing four schools be renovated or the board consolidate to three schools.
The local cost of the building would’ve been paid with a 3.81-mill, 37-year property tax costing the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $132 annually; and a 30-year, 0.50 percent income tax costing $204 annually for a worker earning $40,000 yearly.
Board members haven’t decided what’s next.
“If the community said we can’t afford a a levy then we need to understand what we need to do with our facilities,” board vice president Anne Schaum told board members. “We need something in our plans for this year that is going to take this head-on.”
Board members were reluctant to renovate because of the age of the schools. Langston Middle School was built in 1923, Eastwood Elementary School in 1955, and Prospect Elementary School and Oberlin High School were built in 1960.
Educators have estimated renovating Eastwood, Prospect, and Langston would cost a minimum of $15 million and $43 million to meet Ohio Facilities Construction Commission standards. The estimate doesn’t include Oberlin High School.
Consolidation from four to three buildings would save $340,000 annually, board members said. Renovation after demolishing Eastwood or Prospect would cost a minimum of $12 million and $35 million to meet commission standards.
Schaum said after the retreat that she’s unsure how to proceed.
“That’s why I want it to be a priority for the district in the next year,” she said. “Because we have to articulate that so we know what actions to take.”
Evan Goodenow can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @GoodenowNews on Twitter.