Clark County voters reject Springfield-Clark CTC levy for second time

Supporters says students deserve school environment that prepares them for workforce.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Voters in Clark County rejected the levy for a second time that would have funded the local cost to build a new school facility for the Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center, according to the Clark County Board of Elections.

According to final, unofficial results, 53.57% (11,506 people) of voters opposed the levy and 46.43% (9,971 people) supported the levy.

Superintendent Michelle Patrick said Tuesday night they were “very hopeful” the levy would have passed, but “are grateful” for the nearly 50% of voters who supported the levy.

“The students of Clark County deserve a safe and accessible learning environment that ensures students are career ready, college ready, and life ready. We still believe a new facility is pivotal for the school’s future and the future of workforce development for our community,” she said.

The 1.4-mill levy, the only county-wide tax issue that was on the ballot, would have funded the local cost to build a nearly $90 million new facility with the state contributing 62% of the base $63 million building cost.

The permanent improvement levy was estimated to generate $4,469,000 annually, according to the Clark County Auditor’s Office. It would be $49 a year, or about $4 a month, for a property valued at $100,000.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

For this election, there was a significant increase in visible signage and positive conversation and engagement in the county, compared to the November election, Patrick said.

To also help with the levy campaign, many supporters in the county formed the Committee for Career Development including volunteers from all school districts, CTC alumni and others, with “the common thread being that each of us know how critical CTC is to workforce development in our community,” said board president Jamie Callan.

“The board is grateful for the time, energy, and passion of the volunteers. They worked tirelessly behind the scenes placing signs, attending events, securing financial donations, and speaking to everyone,” he said.

The cost of the entire project is expected to be $89,528,662. The total includes the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) contribution of 62%, or about $38.7 million, and CTC’s share of about 38%, or $24.5 million, for the base part of the new building. The levy would raise an additional $26.2 million for items CTC identified as a need, bringing its total to about $50.7 million, including ongoing maintenance funds.

The OFCC provides a portion of state funding for school construction projects that meet its requirements. Approval for the project was given in August 2023, and CTC had 13 months, until September, to come up with its share of the money in order to be granted the state’s portion.

Callan previously said a legislation that recently passed allows new districts that are engaged in partnership with the OFCC to have 16 months to pass their levy.

Patrick previously said they only had 13 months when they entered the agreement with the OFCC, so were going to check and see if they would be in the 16-month allowance since it went into affect while they were in the process.

However, Patrick said CTC has not been granted the extension by the OFCC.

As for next steps, Patrick said the school board will discuss options and decide how to move forward.

Callan said: “The board will discuss options for moving forward at our next meeting.”

Last November, the levy failed by a larger margin, with 55.36% (21,684 people) against it and 44.64% (17,488 people) for it.

CTC has roughly a 60-year-old campus, among the oldest in the state. It wants to replace its seven existing buildings at 1901 Selma Road with a single, up-to-date facility that would include additional classroom facilities, equipment, furnishings and site improvements needed for additional enrollment.

The current campus is a little more than 182,000 square feet, and a new facility will add 29,000 square feet, giving them closer to 210,000 square feet. The school currently has nearly 800 students, but turned away more than 700 students between 2013 and 2023 due to the lack of space. That additional space is one of the reasons CTC sought the additional levy money.

The new facility would be built on the current property, south of the administrative building, and far enough away from the existing structures that it wouldn’t interrupt school while it was being built.

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