Southwest Local Schools Will Build New Schools With Bond Issue, Levy Passage

Posted On November 08, 2017

By Mike Perleberg

William Henry Harrison Junior High School. File photo.

(Harrison, Oh.) – The third time has proved to be the charm for Southwest Local Schools, a district with growing enrollment and not enough room to house classes.

Voters in the school district on Tuesday approved a bond issue and tax levy. It was a razor-thin margin, with only 153 votes difference out of more than 7,100 votes, according to unofficial results from the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

The approval of the bond issue and tax levy will allow property taxes in Southwest Local School District to be increased. An extra $244.69 per year will be paid by property owners for every $100,000 in valuation.

The bond issue will generate $71.7 million in revenue to construct three new elementary schools, a new middle school, and make renovations to Harrison High School. The tax levy will provide $279,000 annually for building maintenance.

Superintendent John Hamstra said in a letter that the vote clearly indicates that district residents value education, students and the community.

“Throughout this process, there were people who shared their opinions and challenged the district, helping us better understand and address people’s concerns and questions; we know that not everyone may have voted for the bond issue, but it is evident that everyone in this community supports quality education and the success of our children. The positive outcome of the election shows their willingness to make the type of investment necessary to ensure the success of current and future students. In fact, this decision will positively impact this community and our students both now and for the next 50 years!” Hamstra said.

Similar levy requests previously failed at the ballot box in 2016 and 2015. But this time around, the district sought to gather more community input on the facilities project.

So when will new schools be ready to host students? According to the school district, administrators and the school board will work with the state to select an architect and design firm. Construction is expected to begin in 2019, with the new schools ready for students in 2021.



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