Marlington Local School District voters turned down a request to approve a $15 million bond issue that was to help finance construction of a new elementary school.

LEXINGTON TWP.  Hopes were dashed Tuesday of consolidating all the elementary school activities of Marlington Local School District into one building.

School district voters rejected a request a $15 million bond issue that was to run 20 years. The plan was to construct a new elementary school on land adjacent to Marlington Middle School, which is in the 10300 block of Moulin Avenue NE. Marlington Local currently operates three elementary schools in the townships of Washington, Marlboro and Lexington.

The property tax would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home $105 a year. Two of the five Marlington Local Board of Education members, Gary Scott and Carolyn Gabric, voted against placing the bond issue on the ballot.

"I think we need to do something," said Scott. "I am not in favor of a combined elementary. Do I think our buildings need work? Absolutely."

Unofficial vote counts from the Stark County Board of Elections had the bond issue losing by 2,068 to 1,819.

Among the concerns of Marlington Local officials was the existing three elementary schools date back to the early 1950s. There also was a the cost factor, or possibility of saving operating costs, with just one building rather than maintaining three. The new elementary was to be built to accommodate about 1,100 students.

Whether Marlington Local officials try again to ask voters to approve a similar bond issue "is too early to say," said James Fisher, a member of the Board of Education. "I am not opposed to having it on the ballot again. Board members are elected to do what is in the best interest of the district."

If voters had approved the $15 million bond issue, it would have leveraged another $14 million from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to finance the building of the new elementary school.

Fisher said to bring the existing three elementary schools up to state physical standards "is going to cost $30 million."

The issue was opposed by group called Citizens for Responsibility. The group questioned the district's use of capital improvement funds in recent years and the wisdom of having only one elementary school that covers three townships.

Marlington Local officials  have asked voters in recent years to approve other school-construction bond issues. Most recently, there was a $24.6 million bond issue that was voted down in 2013. That was to construct a new Marlington High School.

Reach Malcolm at 330-580-8305


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