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Winton Woods holding off on new construction

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FOREST PARK, OH (FOX19) -

Winton Woods City Schools notified the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission on Tuesday that it is deferring the opportunity to put a bond issue for new construction on the ballot for 2013.

"Our focus is on academics," said Tim Cleary, president of the Winton Woods Board of Education. "But we will need to revisit this issue again in the future."

According to Steve Denny, director of business affairs for the district, this decision makes Winton Woods Schools what the OFCC calls a "lapsed" district.

"While the district won't lose its place in line per se, it is effectively like starting over financially," said Denny.

If voters had passed the Facilities Master Plan bond issue for the district, the state of Ohio would have co-funded just over $30 million, while local property taxes would have funded nearly $68 million for the construction of two new schools. This would have consolidated the district's six schools into two larger campuses, a PK–6 school located in Greenhills on the current middle school property and a 7–12 school located in Forest Park on the current high school property. This configuration was arrived at after months of community engagement, surveys and focus groups.

As a lapsed district, Winton Woods will now need to pass a bond issue for their share of the OFCC-approved Facilities Master Plan before the process can restart. Then, working with the OFCC, the district would select a new building-delivery and construction model and engage an appropriate architectural design and/or engineering firm.

"Our local share of the project would be recalculated based on projected student enrollment, state funding formulas and current district property values," said Denny. "Right now it's unclear whether this would be of benefit to the local community and school district or to our detriment. Time will tell."

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