Clintonville plans $24.9M school referendum in April

Approval would pave way for new elementary school

Grace Kirchner, Leader Correspondent

Clintonville School District residents will be asked to approve a $24.9 million referendum to build a new elementary school in the April 4 election.

The school board voted unanimously, 5-0, Monday to approve the referendum question, with board members Clyde Tellock and Jim Schultz excused.

Voting in favor were board members Mark Zachow, Tom Neely, Ben Huber, Lori Poppe and Jim Dins, board president.

According to the school district, the plan would include a tax increase of no more than $98 per year for the owner of a $100,000 home for the first five years; the rate would decline after that.

A task force that studied elementary school needs in the district for several months recommended a new school as the best solution in November. A month earlier, a survey conducted for the school district found more residents supported building a new elementary school than renovating the current school.

District officials say the section of the Rexford-Longfellow Elementary School complex built in 1918, which at one time served as the high school, needs tuck pointing, the windows and doors need to be repaired or replaced, a portion of the roof needs to be replaced, the heating system is aging and parts of the building do not meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

The Rexford-Longfellow infrastructure does not support current technology, according to a facilities assessment done by Bray Architects.

The building is larger than what is needed to serve the current and projected student enrollment, and is more expensive to heat and operate due to age, the committee concluded.

“I did have some reservations, but the voices have spoke up and this is what we got,” Dins said.
Huber said he liked the district’s process that led to the vote Monday.

“I like it that it was all open to the public,” Huber said. “I am going to vote in favor of this. I did like the process. If it was $18 million to $20 million to refurbish the old, it made it easier to make the call, although I do think it can be done for less.”

If the voters approve the referendum, plans are to build a new elementary school behind the present Rexford-Longfellow complex, which would continue to operate until the new building is ready and then be demolished.

The Dellwood Early Learning Center would be closed, under the plan, and the new school would house grades 4K-4.

The new building would be more energy efficient, with improved traffic flow and parking, according to school officials. A new playground would be built behind the new elementary school. A large parking lot and drop-off zone would be created along Eighth Street. A new bus drop-off would be added on the west side of the building along South Clinton Ave.