Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Madeira might face bond issue on schools



By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MADEIRA - More than 120 residents packed into a makeshift meeting room at Sellman Middle School on Monday evening to hear how their children are being similarly squeezed by overcrowded classrooms.

Madeira school officials announced for the first time that residents could see a bond issue on the March 2 ballot - ranging from a 3.6-mill option to 7.4 mills - that would pay for two new schools and the expansion of the high school.

They said the 1,500-student Maderia school system is running out of space in its three schools, especially at Sellman and Dumont Elementary.

Decision due Monday

Both schools would be replaced under a proposed $29.4 million construction plan that would be funded if voters approve the March bond issue.

"We have a world-class district here, and we want to keep it that way," Madeira Board of Education President John Gilster said, in reference to the Hamilton County district's top state academic rating of "excellent."

The Madeira school board is scheduled to decide on the exact bond issue millage during its next meeting, at 7 p.m. Monday at the high school.

Superintendent Stephen Kramer told the audience the district's three school buildings, two of which are more than 50 years old, "are not conducive for student group work, and technology is taking up the space."

Could be built by 2007

If voters pass a March bond issue, district officials estimate, new Sellman and Dumont schools could be constructed by August 2007 - both on the current schools' properties.

Expansion of the high school would be done during the summers of 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Parent Tom Jarvis said he appreciated the series of public meetings in recent months that garnered public opinion about the proposed construction plans and bond issue.

"The district really needs this bond issue. I've seen these school buildings, and I know it's needed," Jarvis said.

E-mail mclark@enquirer.com




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