Northridge School District hopes to pass levy to replace aging building

LICKING COUNTY, OHIO (WCMH) – The Northridge Local Schools District is hoping voters will pass a levy on tomorrow’s ballot.

Back in January, students had to use outdoor port-a-potties after a sewage line collapsed.

“We’re kind of holding our breath to be honest with you,” said superintendent Dr. Chris Briggs.  “We’re in a building right now that’s almost 100 years old with failing mechanical issues and aging pipes as well.”

Students in 4th and 5th grade have class in modular classrooms or trailers, next to the high school and middle school. Dr. Briggs said the structures were never meant to be permanent, but have been in use for 10 years.

He said the levy would pay for a new $33 million Pre-K through 6th-grade building, that would be built next to the middle school and high school.

“In some cases, we have students on the bus for 55 minutes and we think by bringing them to this central location that we’ll be able to accommodate parents both from the north and the south end of our district,” he said.

The elementary school in Alexandria was built in 1923, with an addition built in 1955.

“I’m concerned about the air quality in the building, but I’m also concerned about the mechanicals,” said Dr. Briggs. “Obviously, to bring that building up to code would cost more than actually producing a new building.”

Residents will be voting on a combined earned income tax and bond issue. It includes a 0.75% earned income tax and 2.9 mill bond issue for 30 years. The district said earned income doesn’t include social security, pensions, and capital gains or some other income types.

On average, Dr. Briggs said it would cost an additional $454 per year, for a home valued at $100,000 with an annual income of $50,000. You can calculate how much it would cost your family online.

The elementary school building has been remodeled several times. Where the old gym used to be are now classrooms. Walls in the art room are crumbling from water damage. Dr. Briggs said the facility does not have air conditioning or the electrical capability to power enough laptops for student use.

“We just need a better school. Our children deserve it,” said voter Jane Hutchinson.

She plans on voting “yes” for the levy. She said she’s concerned, among other issues, about the students in trailer classrooms.

“That’s not a good thing for tornados,” she said. “That’s not good for the children to be in buildings like that.”

Voter Richard Carters said he’s voting “no” even though social security and pensions will not be taxed.

“If you own property you’re going to be taxed,” he said. “I just feel there’s a lot of older people in the township and they just can’t afford to have increases in their taxes. They’re on such a fixed income.”

Dr. Briggs said if the levy does pass, they would begin construction this summer. He said it would take 18-24 months for the new school to be built.

This is the second time the district has tried to pass a levy. It was revised and put on the ballot again for the May 2nd primary election.

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