Rootstown is considering all options after securing state building funds

The Rootstown School District has again been approved for funding to improve school facilities, but the school board is weighing its options and considering a project that would be more affordable for taxpayers.

Superintendent Andrew Hawkins said the Ohio Facilities Building Commission has approved funding for new or renovated facilities in Rootstown. To accept the funding, a local bond issue will need to be approved to provide matching funds.

“The board is still looking at all options,” he said. “We want to take the time and do it right.”

State Senator Jerry Cirino, whose district includes Portage County, announced funding under Senate Bill 4, which provides up to $ 242 million in public funds for the construction of schools in nine districts, including Rootstown. Cirino said Rootstown could receive up to $ 18.7 million on a $ 45.675 million project. Local correspondence of $ 26.9 million would be required in this scenario.

However, Hawkins said the project didn’t need to be as large and if a less expensive project was selected the percentage would stay the same. Right now, he said, the council is considering options that would be “more affordable for taxpayers.”

In order to accept the funding, Hawkins said, a bond issue must be approved by May 2022. If the levy fails, the money would revert to the state and the district would seek to receive the funding from. the state in another round.

“If the local share is not approved, we go back online,” he said.

In 2019, the Rootstown School Board asked voters for a $ 5.5 million levy, which was to provide $ 18.7 million in funds for a $ 31.8 million project. The state was to provide 41 percent of the cost. Voters rejected the bond issuance in November of the same year.

Journalist Diane Smith can be reached at [email protected]

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