Residents in the Northeastern Local School District — the second largest district in Clark County — remain split whether or not to consolidate the two current high schools as part of a nearly $100 million proposed construction project.
Northeastern plans on going on the ballot next November to ask voters for a bond issue to construct new schools. Leaders say the current schools are beyond repair and the district is sinking thousands of dollars into the buildings.
Continuing coverage: Northeastern has plans for new facilities, looking for feedback
A survey taken at a community forum shows the first choice of residents who attended the event two week ago is to build two new PreK-12th grade buildings, which would keep the district split in two high schools. The second choice is to build two PreK-eighth grade school buildings and one high school, for a total of three schools.
Northeastern Superintendent John Kronour said the results of the survey are similar to what he has heard from community members in the past.
“That was somewhat anticipated that there would be differing opinions on consolidation,” he said. “I don’t think I was surprised by those results. I do hope the community is still actively discussing what are the best options for the students.”
The district currently has five schools serving about 3,800 students. Northeastern is the last district in Clark County to have two high schools. Both buildings are aging — Kenton Ridge was built in 1976 and Northeastern was built in 1952. And both schools have proud traditions that alumni and students celebrate.
Northeastern residents were asked at the recent forum to record their preferences of six plans for new schools by placing stickers on posters for their first, second and third choices.
The two high school option received the most first-choice votes with 61 votes, as well as 34 second-choice votes and 30 third-choice votes, according to the district.
The one high school option received the second most first-choice votes with 32 stickers, 40 second-choice votes and 24 third-choice votes.
A two high school option would likely cost about $3 million less than the one high school option, according to a draft master plan created by the Classrooms Facilities Assistance Program for the district.
The two-building plan would cost local taxpayers about $65 million overall if approved by voters. The one high school, three-building option would cost locals more than $67 million.
The state has offered to pay 40 percent of the overall costs, which for the two plans are about $103 million for the two-building plan and $106.7 million for the three-school proposal.
Those projected costs don’t include potential locally funded initiatives the school may ask for in addition to the buildings and are subject to change.
The next school board meeting will be at 6 p.m Jan. 18 at the South Vienna School. Kronour said he plans to speak then more in depth about the two plans to give the board members a better understanding about the costs, educational opportunities and other needs.
He said he hopes sometime next year that the district will pay for a scientific survey to get the opinions from a large portion of the registered voters in the district before putting an issue on the ballot.
Leaky roofs, unpredictable heating and cooling units and a lack of electrical infrastructure are just some of the problems with the current schools, Kronour has said.
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