Final push for Salem school levy support
In just two weeks, Salem taxpayers will vote on whether they want to fund a 3.48 mill tax levy that partially pays for the school district's upgrades.
A final push Tuesday from the Salem School community to inform the public about how much it would cost an average household and where those dollars will go took place at Salem High School.
After the school levy failed by over 200 votes in May, the Salem School District community is rallying support for its upcoming November levy.
"This is literally our last chance at this,' explained Superintendent Sean Kirkland. "It's one last chance to let everybody hear the facts straight from us so they know what they're voting for."
The funds will go towards repurposing Southeast Elementary into a K through 8 school. The building will expand on Whinnery Farm, a property that the district already owns.
The project costs $60 million, including operating expenses, but the district is only asking taxpayers for $9 million. The committee to encourage community support explained in Tuesday's informational meeting the main initiatives to create the new building include student safety, updated heating and cooling, drop off and pick up logistics, quality of food and strengthened community involvement.
"There's a lot of information we've tried to share digitally and through the newspaper and we can't necessarily reach everybody," said Andy CLutter, committee Member with Salem Schools First PAC. "So we wanted to get as many community members together as we could and just tell them everything that's really going on with the levy and what the opportunity really entails."
Buckeye Elementary and Reilly Elementary will be torn down. Some of the buildings are close to a century old. This levy does not fund any upgrades to the current high school building.
"It is a segmented plan," explained Kirkland. "The larger plan is for the entire district. What we actually signed up for and what this levy is for is for 'segment one' and that includes the elementaries."
The district is receiving the majority of funds from the state and the Salem Community Foundation as long as the levy passes.
The school will be paid for with $37.9 million from the State of Ohio, $10 million from the Salem Community Foundation, $8.8 million from the tax levy and $3.7 million from local commercial contributions. This is the community's last chance to receive state funding after the levy failed in May.
If a home is valued at $100k, the homeowner will pay $96.25 every year. That's about $8 a month for the first 10 years, then about $77 for the remaining years. The community is staying hopeful for November 7th.
"For a brand new, K-8 building, that's an opportunity we just can't pass up," Clutter said.
If the levy passed students would not be in the new school until fall of 2028. Renderings for the new school will be created depending on the levy's success.