Question: What is the purpose of the bond issue?
Answer: The purpose of the bond issue is to construct, renovate and improve school district buildings and facilities and acquiring, clearing, improving and equipping sites for NCCS buildings and facilities in the principal amount of $58,500,000, to be repaid annually over a maximum period of 36 years, and an annual levy of property taxes be made outside the ten-mill limitation, estimated by the county auditor to average over the repayment period of the bond issue 3.6 mills for each one dollar of tax valuation, which amounts to 36 cents for each one hundred dollars of tax valuation, commencing in 2020, first due in calendar year 2021, to pay the annual debt charges on the bonds, and to pay debt charges on any notes issued in anticipation of those bonds.
Question: When will the bond issue appear on the ballot?
Answer: The bond issue will be on the March 17, 2020, ballot. This is not a special election. The Ohio Senate set the date of the presidential primary election in March.
Question: How do I know where to vote?
Answer: If you are uncertain of your voting location, please use the link for the Stark County Board of Elections. Polling locations open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.
Question: What is the purpose of Issue 16?
1.) If the bond issue passes, we would consolidate the present pre-K to grade five schools. The Mary L. Evans Early Childhood Center, Clearmount Elementary and Northwood Elementary would be consolidated into a preschool through second grade. Greentown Intermediate and Orchard Hill Intermediate would become a grade three through five building. The preschool through second grade building would be constructed on the Charlotte site, and the grade three through grade five building would be constructed on the Clearmount site.
The Early Childhood Center, Clearmount and Northwood would become a pre-K through second grade building on the Charlotte site.
Greentown and Orchard Hill would be consolidated into a grades 3-5 building on the Clearmount site.
Please note that these are conceptual drawings and do not represent the final buildings or sites.
2.) Memorial Stadium would be made more handicap accessible.
3.) The bus garage, which is 72 years old, would be rebuilt. The present garage lacks adequate space to work on buses, and can’t be equipped with a bus lift for the mechanics to safely and efficiently work on the school buses.
In the photo above, a mechanic shows that the hood of a bus can't be opened when the bus is pulled all the way into the garage. In the photo on the right a mechanic from another school district shows a bus on a lift for repairs. Bus sizes have changed since our garage was built in 1948. The baby boom of the 1950s resulted in larger buses that could hold more students.
Question: What is the cost to a person with a $100,000 house?
Answer: The proposed bond issue for March 17, 2020, is for 3.6 mills. The bond issue for $22,953,000 passed in 1994 to convert the Hoover High School Career Center into a comprehensive high school and make renovations to other school buildings was paid off December 1, 2019. The effective millage of that issue, which was down to 2 mills from the voted 4.7 mills, will no longer be paid by residents on their tax bills beginning in 2020. This means that residents with a $100,000 house would pay only $56 per year more than they paid in 2019 in order to build two schools for grades pre-K through five, or approximately $4.67 per month. A resident living in a home worth $200,000 will be paying less than $10 per month.
Question: Will the state of Ohio be contributing any money to the construction/renovation?
Answer: The state will be paying about 37% of the cost through an Expedited Local Partnership (ELP). The school district’s share of the facilities project will be paid up front, and the state’s share of the project will be applied to the second phase of the facilities project that deals with grades 6-12.
Question: Didn’t we just pass a levy?
Answer: The ballot issue in March 2020 is a bond levy. In May of 2018, residents passed an operating levy. An operating levy is a property tax used for any school district purpose but primarily for either operating expenses or permanent improvement funding. A bond issue is a property tax levy used to provide a school district with local revenue for construction purposes. The county auditor determines the rate of a bond levy needed each year to service the principal and interest owed on the amount of bonded debt approved by voters when they approved the bond levy. Bond levies remain in place until the debt (principal and interest) is fully paid.
Benefits of the Facilities Project
Question: What is the advantage to having two school buildings centrally located?
1.) The school district will receive more federal funding for reading and math instruction by having all students together in one building for grades preschool through second grade and one building for grades three through five.
2.) Two schools will provide equity across all grade levels in curriculum, staffing, playgrounds, libraries, and tutoring.
3.) In addition, the new buildings will allow us to balance class sizes by having all students together by grade level.
4.) Greater opportunities for enrichment programs, including visual art, music and other activities, through improved scheduling efficiency.
5.) “Transition anxiety” will be reduced as students will no longer be brought together with new students at different grade levels as they are now in sixth grade. Instead, students will be together from kindergarten through grade 12.
Question: Will putting all the district’s kindergarten, first, and second-grade students together in one building and all the district’s third, fourth, and fifth-grade students together in another building cause class sizes to increase?
Answer: No. By having all of the students in a grade level together in one building, the district will be better able to balance the class sizes because students will now be able to be evenly distributed among 12 to 13 classrooms typically per grade level instead of trying to distribute them among typically 5 to 7 classrooms per grade level as we presently have in each of current buildings. In our current situation with two separate K-2nd and 3rd-5th school buildings, when some years have an unusually high number of students in a particular grade level at only one of the buildings, we may have average class sizes of 28 to 29 in a grade level at one building but class sizes of only 22 to 23 in the same grade level at the other building. If the district had all classrooms in that one grade level in the same building with the same number of total classrooms, the class size would be about 25 in all classes.
Question: Will the district reduce the number of teachers, custodians and other positions?
Answer: There would be no reduction in staff because the district will still have the same number of students to be educated which will require a similar number of teachers and instructional support staff. Special education is another area where staffing cuts are unlikely due to the nature of the services we must provide. Buildings will have similar square footage, so the amount of cleaning time needed will be similar.
Question: I read that the schools are hoping to make visual arts more available with the new school construction. Does this mean they are getting rid of regular art, replacing libraries with state-of-the art technology, or using Promethean boards? Elementary school seems too young for that. What is being done to keep the same level of academic excellence during the construction process?
Answer: To answer your first question, we are NOT getting rid of "regular art" as we recognize the importance of visual art being taught with licensed visual art teachers in elementary through high school. All elementary students will still have visual art class just like they do today.
Additionally, each building will have a great state-of-the-art media center that will include all the library books we currently have plus technology to access many more media resources.
When we state that there will be "greater opportunities for enrichment programs, including visual art, music, and other activities, through improved scheduling efficiency," we are referring to the fact that we presently have two elementary visual art teachers and two elementary music teachers who all teach in two different buildings every day and thus spend some of their day traveling between buildings. By having one preschool through second grade building and one third through fifth-grade building, we should be able to staff those buildings in such a way that will not require teachers to travel between buildings, and will thus leave more time for art and music instruction while also saving the district money in mileage reimbursement for on-the-job travel.
Additionally, some of our band and choir classes in the 4th and 5th grades meet before the normal school actually starts, which requires students to have a longer school day and a longer bus ride on these mornings as these students (if not transported by their parents, which is also an inconvenience to parents) will ride a bus from their neighborhood to North Canton Middle School and will then change to a different bus that will take them to either Orchard Hill or Greentown. By having all of our 3rd-5th grade students together, we hope to find a way to schedule some or all of these band and choir classes during the normal school day since the teachers will have more time in their day to teach without having to travel between buildings as they do now.
Question: Will having new elementary buildings provide the district any relief on operating expenses such as electric and natural gas costs to heat and cool the buildings?
Answer: Yes. The new school buildings would be required to be built to the Standard of LEED Silver certification. LEED stands for "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design" and focuses on a more sustainable approach to the way buildings are designed, constructed and operated. While each year is different based on utility costs and temperature ranges, NCCS typically averages natural gas and electric costs of approximately $0.99 per square foot for heating and cooling per year. School districts that have done building projects to the LEED Silver standard have seen a reduction in natural gas and electric costs by approximately 25%. For North Canton, our five buildings set to be replaced account for 222,410 square feet. However, we anticipate only needing to build 199,688 s/f, with the remaining square footage unnecessary due to the unused space at the Portage Building. So, to calculate an approximate energy savings (Gas and Electric) with the new buildings:
Extra space eliminated: 22,722 s/f X $.99 s/f = $22,494 savings.
New construction: 199,688 s/f X $0.99 s/f utility costs = $197,691 (0.75 LEED Construction 25% savings) = $148,268 (savings of $49,423).
Total estimated annual savings: $22,494 + $49,423 = $71,917 savings per year.
Question: Will these buildings provide any ability for the public to use them in the evening or summer hours?
Answer: Yes. NCCS has always been proactive in allowing the public to use our buildings as much as possible. We do this daily. For example, we have an indoor walking track at Hoover HS open to our residents to use each day, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. When the weather turns too hot or too cold, we will commonly see over 50 people walking per day between 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. In addition, our performing arts hall is rented out over 70 days per year for community events such as community choirs, community theater, dance recitals and youth sports banquets.
When you add in all the school events, there is hardly a day that goes by that Hoover Hall is not in use.
Our school buildings are commonly used by area Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for their monthly meetings, community-based basketball including the YMCA use our gyms for over 600 hours each year, and Hoover High School played host to two local church camps and the YMCA’s 12-week summer childcare program that provided safe and supervised summer fun for children whose parents need to work in the summer.
In 2010 NCCS took ownership of the Dogwood ballfield property along 7th Street NE. Since that time, we have maintained these fields and allowed them to be used for the following events: YMCA flag football, YMCA T-Ball, North Canton Youth Fastpitch Softball, NC Youth Football, and perhaps most importantly, as the Community Fireworks launch site each July 4th.
?Two areas appeal to citizens of all ages. First, NCCS has maintained an agreement with the North Canton Playhouse to allow them to use space inside the building. With the recent upgrade paid entirely through private donations, each show can seat an audience of nearly 200 people. Shows run year-round at Hoover High School. The North Canton Lions Club uses our facility rent free two times a year for one of the largest and most successful craft shows in Stark County. We know the Lions Club, in turn, invests that money back into projects that serve the residents of Stark County.
Logistics of the Facilities Plan
Question: What will happen to the current buildings if the levy passes?
Answer: Money is in the budget to abate and demolish Greentown, Orchard Hill, the ECC (the old Central High School), Clearmount, and Northwood. The board of education, however, has not yet determined the future of Northwood Elementary. It could possibly be used as a professional development center or home to our special education department which is currently located in the Mary L. Evans building and/or leased to another organization. The field space at Northwood would also be desirable to keep for youth sports activities.
Question: Why are the schools being built so far south in the district when there are so many families that live further north?
Answer: The location of the schools in the proposal was one that was given careful consideration from the start of the process. From there, the district held two community meetings where the plan was outlined with the advantages of the proposed sites. We collected written feedback from each attendee at the October community meeting and did not hear that concern. Here are our reasons:
- The district does not own land in the Greentown area large enough to build a school building for all the students north of Applegrove. To have the money, we would need to pass the bond issue and then negotiate for the land. There would be no way to communicate the location to the voters ahead of the bond issue. With the current proposal, the district will not need to spend money on acquiring land.
- Building a school for the northern half of the district would require us to build two pre-K to grade 5 buildings. We have outlined a number of the benefits of having our buildings only serve three grades. These efficiencies will save the district money and provide for better teacher and learning for decades to come.
- The district will be able to receive additional Federal Funds for reading programs with the proposed building configuration.
- Some of the efficiencies that will either save money, or create a better learning environment, are balanced class sizes across an entire grade, libraries, playgrounds, and lunchrooms “right-sized” for the children’s age and developmental range.
- Elimination of stress associated with bringing students together at different grade levels of their educational career. Students will start kindergarten together and stay together through graduation.
Question: Why not use the Northwood Elementary site for a new school?
Answer: The Northwood property presents several concerns for the school district. The first is that there is only one street for traffic in and out of the school property. One of our first goals in the safety category is to completely separate parent car traffic from school bus traffic. In addition to this, the new proposed building would have nearly double the enrollment, which would create significant traffic concerns of a bottleneck both at the corner of School Road and Applegrove as well as entering school property. Also, for a family like yours in Shepherd's Gate, the distance from your home to the proposed Charlotte site is 0.1 mile closer than a potential Northwood site according to Google Maps. Finally, the district will be able to complete construction of the two new buildings without interfering with the education of students at the Clearmount and Charlotte sites. Due to the layout of the Northwood campus, that would be much more difficult. The district is committed to holding the Northwood land for outdoor field space use for youth sports, such as lacrosse, football, and soccer.
Question: Why not purchase land for a new school building?
Answer: Using land presently owned by the district is a huge cost savings.
Question: What would happen to the land if Greentown, Orchard Hill and Northwood are demolished?
Answer: Money is in the budget to abate and demolish Greentown, Orchard Hill, the ECC (the old Central High School), Clearmount, and Northwood. The board of education, however, has not yet determined the future of Northwood Elementary. It could possibly be used as a professional development center and to house our special education department, which is currently housed in the Mary Evans building, and/ or leased to another organization. The board of education has not yet determined, pending passage of the bond issue, if the land would be sold or if it would be kept as green space. The field space at Northwood would also be desirable to keep for youth sports activities.
Question: Would additional community meetings be held regarding design and build of the new buildings? Would community input be considered? The FAQ mentions LEED Silver certified buildings, but what else will be included? Are we building practical buildings that will stand the test of time, or are we aiming to “keep up with the Joneses” with architecture?
Answer: A facility design team will be formed for the development of the plans for the school buildings. Some community members will be part of the design team. In fact, we will have a “visioning” meeting that will involve staff, students, administration, and community members in order to help us make plans for buildings that will last 50 to 100 years. Our plan is to build practical, efficient buildings that provide us with the best possible opportunity to prepare our students for the future.
Question: Where would students go during the construction process?
Answer: The good news for our students during the planned construction process is that no students will need to be displaced during the construction at either the Clearmount site or the Charlotte site. We have had input from our pre-bond architect as well as our consultant from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to assure us both buildings can be built with no disruption to the current buildings.
Question: If the bond issue passes, when would construction begin? When would the schools be opened for use?
Answer: The general rule of thumb for school construction is one year to plan and two to three years to build. The architects will begin work very soon after a successful vote, but part of the early process will be behind the scenes work. One example will be a traffic study being done to ensure the existing roadways and infrastructure is sufficient to meet the demand of a school building. A soil study is another that will be done to ensure the quality of the ground the buildings are planned to be placed. These are common practices in the construction world, as well as requirements for the school district as we are doing the project in coordination with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. This will allow the district to receive 37% of the funding for the project when Phase 2 is approved. The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission has partnered with local school districts to build over 1,000 school buildings since 1997. We are thrilled that North Canton residents finally have a chance to see the state money flow in to support our district.
Question: The planned parking lots and parent pickup do not seem adequate for double the students. Have multiple options been explored? Will bus riding requirements change with so many more kids who are more than a mile from the school?
Answer: No plans have been created. The photos to which you are referring are only concept drawings that show approximate square footage needs. They are not accurate in the space for playgrounds and parking. Playgrounds and parking will not be determined until the bond issue is passed architects are hired. Playgrounds will be appropriate for grade level and will be handicap accessible. The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission has experts who study the site and make recommendations on traffic flow. Safety of children will be foremost in our plans. Until plans are created, we can’t speak to indoor recess.
We do not anticipate a large increase of students riding buses. We will continue to follow board policy on busing. Busing requirements were set in place by the board of education over 25 years ago and have seemed to serve the district well.
Elementary students are walkers at 1.0 miles or less from the school building, barring a safety concern for students less than 1.0 mile. The district has never required students in grades K-5 to walk across a four-lane road to attend school.
Question: How will centrally located schools impact busing?
Answer: The district will no longer have “hard lines” for transportation zones as currently existed with Applegrove Street. For example, a bus that services the Bob-O-Link area can now also service the Sanctuary neighborhood, meaning that the bus will fill up with students in less time and reduce the amount of time children will spend on the bus. Similar blending can occur on the south side of Applegrove Street as well.
According to Google Maps, the distance from the Greentown Square (East of Chicago Pizza) to the proposed new building at Clearmount, located at 850 East Maple Street, is 4.2 miles and 9 minutes. Students in the northwest part of our district commuting to and from the Charlotte Street property will have an additional route for north/south travel, using Pittsburg Avenue and Aultman Road, after the improvement project is completed by the Stark County Engineer. This project will eliminate two traffic lights on the road and give some buses the option to avoid the traffic and traffic lights on Cleveland Avenue.
Some residents have asked how much further it would be to travel to the proposed building at the Charlotte Street site as compared to Northwood Elementary. The answer would surprise most people. Starting at the same spot of the Greentown Square, the Charlotte location is .1 mile closer than Northwood Elementary.
Question: Can the infrastructure at the Charlotte Street property handle the number of students that would be in a new building that would house the number of students that would be there with this plan?
Answer: Yes. In the 1970s and 1980s, the district had many grade level configurations for the Portage and Charlotte schools. In every year and in every arrangement, approximately 1400 students were educated on that land.
Question: Why are our elementary buildings in such poor shape?
Answer: First, it is important to understand the age of our buildings. Greentown and the Portage building, which was built as Central High School and became No-Ca-Hi, were both built in the 1920s. In the 1950s, the school district-built Orchard Hill and Clearmount. Northwood was built in 1971. So, we have two buildings over 90 years old, two buildings 60 years old, and our newest building is 48 years old.
Secondly, not only do most North Canton residents live in homes significantly newer than our school buildings, so are most buildings in Stark County school districts. Currently, North Canton City Schools is only one of three school districts that has not built a new school building in the last 20 years. (Marlington and Perry are the other two. Perry also has a bond issue on the March ballot.)
Thirdly, many districts in Stark County have used millions of dollars in state funding, which is now available to us to demolish and replace all or most of their school buildings in the last 15-20 years. Here is a list of those districts: Northwest, Tuslaw, East Canton, Louisville, Lake, Canton City, Sandy Valley, and Minerva. Canton Local, Jackson, and Plain Local used all local taxpayer funding to construct their new schools.
Fourthly, while some community members may question the condition of our buildings, we are proud to say that our buildings have outlasted most of the school buildings in Stark County. Now it is a question of spending our dollars on old buildings that need constant upkeep for heating, cooling, and plumbing repair or replacement. Because of their age, these five buildings, which are over 222,000 square feet, demand a large portion of our district’s budget, money that could be better used supporting students in the classroom. New buildings under this plan using state funding would be required to be built to the standards of LEED Silver certification. Other districts that have gone through this process have seen their operating costs reduced approximately 25% for electricity and natural gas.
Finally, and certainly most importantly, these school buildings were constructed to educate students for a world that no longer exists. In the first half of the 1900s, a large portion of a school’s graduates were headed off to work in manufacturing and a good portion of that was assembly line work. Now, we must prepare students to work in an information society. Many will work in job fields that do not exist today.