Poland school officials present options for new schools

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POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – The Poland Exempted Village School District is considering a building consolidation plan.

A town hall meeting was held Monday evening at Poland Seminary High School so the public could learn more about the options, which include closing a couple of buildings, making drastic improvements to existing buildings or replacing current facilities.

Last week, the Poland Board of Education approved a change that would move students from North Elementary to Poland Middle School and re-purpose the elementary school as a pre-k and after-school building. But, district officials said a lot more needs to be done to fix the old buildings.

They said the middle school building is facing major issues with the heating system. In fact, a private contractor said the heating system will fail. In several elementary schools, structural and cosmetic issues have district leaders shuffling students around.

A drastic drop in student enrollment has led to a decreased need for more buildings. In two years, the district’s current bond levy will expire.

Superintendent David Janofa said there are several options: Build two new schools, one elementary and one middle school, and renovate the current high school with or without help from the state. The other option is to keep current buildings and use taxpayer dollars to fix issues inside. The last option is using money the school district has saved.

There were a lot of questions at the meeting, but many parents said they want to do what helps students succeed.

“I know the buildings are getting old. A lot of people don’t like change. But new schools are better for your kids. You always want the best for your kids and that is what we are looking for,” parent Scott O’Hara said.

His wife, Amy, said the schools are definitely in need of repair.

“I think it is going to cost the people who live here in Poland, but I think it is going to help,” parent Bob Hannon said.

Poland Superintendent David Janofa said it is not an easy decision regardless of what they do.

“There are a lot of things that are happening to our buildings, to the physical plant of all of our buildings. It is pretty complex. We also are addressing a significant drop in enrollment over the past 10 years and certainly for the next 10 years, we are seeing a continued drop in enrollment,” Janofa said.

If the district decides to go with the option to get two new buildings and renovate the current high school, the state will fund 19 cents for every dollar needed in the project. That option would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $241 in taxes each year for 34 years.

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