Voters Reject Riverside Local Schools’ $5.37 Million Bond Levy to Construct New 6-12 Grade Complex

There is an unofficial result from Lake and Geauga counties showing voter rejection of a $5.37 million bond levy allowing Riverside Local Schools to raise $147,725,000 to construct a new 6-12 grade complex.

The Riverside Campus property would have been constructed to be a middle school for sixth through eighth graders and a high school for ninth through twelfth graders.

According to unofficial results, 8,551 voters (76.04%) rejected the bond issue, but 2,695 voters (23.96%) supported it.

Unofficial results show that 40 voters in Geauga County opposed the bond issue while seven voted for it.

Specified amounts and terms of bond levies are used for paying off the principal and interest on bonds issued for construction activities.

The bond levy would have only provided funds for new construction, renovations, additions to school facilities, and improvement works.

Riverside Local Schools clarified that operating expenses, such as instructional materials, salaries, and benefits, could not be covered by funds.

In the case of Issue 1, taxpayers would have paid $15.66 per $100,000 appraised valuation annually if it had passed.

This is what Riverside Local Schools said about Issue 1:

“The proposed bond levy is a result of more than eight years of effort by the District’s Facilities Committee – consisting of community members, parents, board members, administrators, and staff – who were tasked with creating a long-term visionary plan to solve issues of aging buildings and poor infrastructure. The District’s facilities were assessed by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) free of charge, and its recommendation in both 2008 and 2013 was to replace all of the school buildings due to poor conditions – with the exception of LaMuth Middle School.

In February 2016, the Board of Education approved the Facilities Plan created by the Facilities Committee after the OFCC assessment.

  • Phase I of the Facilities Plan has already been completed thanks to the community passing a 1.92-mill bond levy in 2016, which allowed the District to construct and open two new elementary schools (Parkside, Riverview) in the fall of 2019. Phase I also allowed the District to decommission four of its oldest elementary schools: Hadden, Hale Road, Leroy, and Madison Avenue.
  • Phase II (Current Phase) – construct a new 6-12 Complex, consisting of a 6-8 Middle School and a 9-12 High School with shared spaces, on the current Riverside Campus property.
  • Phase III – Renovate and repurpose LaMuth Middle School into an elementary school.
  • At the conclusion of Phase III, the district would re-evaluate district enrollment and consider the closure of Melridge Elementary and/or Buckeye Elementary.”

Riverside School District Concerned Taxpayers, the group that opposed Issue 1, circulated flyers in the community claiming the school board was not unanimous on its decision to bring this issue, with two of the five members voting against it, citing issues such as the current economy, inflation, and supply chain.

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