July 16 forum is final opportunity for public comment before July 17 vote on school facilities bond issue
On Tuesday, July 17, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education will vote on whether or not to approve a final resolution to place the $130.6 million school facilities bond issue on the ballot this November.
Prior to that vote, the board has scheduled a special community forum for Monday, July 16, to be held in the Social Room of Cleveland Heights High School, 13263 Cedar Road, at 7 p.m.
Stephen Shergalis, director of business development for the CH-UH City School District, said, “The meeting on the 17th is a work session, and work sessions do not allow for community input. The board felt there was enough interest from the community, and wanted to give people an opportunity to speak. Holding the community forum enables the board to do that.”
The resolution, to be presented to the board by Superintendent Douglas Heuer, is “a resolution determining to proceed to submit to the electors of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District the question of the issuance of school facilities improvement bonds in the aggregate principal amount of $130,600,000.” [See the resolution here.]
The resolution consists of four sections, and estimates the bond millage at 5.9 mills (calculated by the County Fiscal Officer) and sets forth the ballot language, which is as follows:
“Shall bonds be issued by the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District for the purpose of CONSTRUCTING, RENOVATING, REMODELING, ENLARGING, FURNISHING, EQUIPPING AND OTHERWISE IMPROVING SCHOOL DISTRICT BUILDINGS AND FACILITIES AND ACQUIRING, IMPROVING AND EQUIPPING SITES FOR SUCH BUILDINGS AND FACILITIES in the principal amount of $130,600,000, to be repaid annually over a maximum period of thirty-six (36) years, and an annual levy of property taxes be made outside the ten mill limitation, estimated by the County Fiscal Officer to average over the repayment period of the bond issue 5.9 mills for each one dollar of tax valuation, which amounts to 59 cents for each one hundred dollars of tax valuation, commencing in 2012, first due in calendar year 2013, to pay the annual debt charges on the bonds, and to pay debt charges on any notes issued in anticipation of those bonds?”
On July 3, the board voted 3-2 to approve the district’s master facilities plan (Plan C), and also voted 3-2 to declare the necessity of placing the $130.6 million school facilities improvement bond on the November ballot. Board members Ron Register and Kal Zucker voted against the two resolutions, with board members Eric Coble, Karen Jones and Nancy Peppler voting for them.
Shergalis explained, “In order to place a bond issue on the ballot, the board has to go through certain procedural steps. It took the first two at the July 3 meeting, and will take the third step on July 17.
“If the board were to not pass the [final] resolution, then no bond issue would go on the ballot.”
As for the July 3 vote to accept the plan, it will take a simple majority [3-2] vote to pass the final resolution, according to Shergalis.
Angee Shaker, director of communications for the CH-UH City School district, commented, "The members of the Board of Education have heard, and continue to hear, from community members as they share their opinions regarding our schools, our school buildings, and the Community Facilities Plan. Tuesday’s [July 17] Board meeting will include the final reading of the resolution to place a bond issue on the ballot; it is not final until then. Before that happens, the Board wanted to give community members one more opportunity to have their opinions heard."
Kim Sergio Inglis
Kim Sergio Inglis is editor-in-chief of the Heights Observer. She lives in the newly designated Shaker Farm Historic District in Cleveland Heights.