By Matt Clevenger
For Miami Valley Today
TIPP CITY — The Tipp City Board of Education has decided to postpone the proposed addition and renovation projects at L.T. Ball Middle School until March, while moving forward with plans to place an emergency levy renewal on the ballot before voters this November.
“This district needs a building very badly,” board member Sam Spano said during a special meeting held on Wednesday, Aug. 7. “I think putting it off until March may be the right decision, but that doesn’t mean that we stop working on this.”
“Let’s move forward with the emergency levy,” he said. “Let’s get that on the ballot and get that behind us. But not at the expense of abandoning facilities work for March.”
Originally approved in 2015, the 4.95-mil emergency levy generates an estimated $185 million annually, and is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020. Several board members have expressed concerns about approaching voters with the emergency levy renewal at the same time as a permanent improvement levy, which has been suggested as one possible way to pay for the L.T. Ball renovations. A bond issue to pay for the renovations was also defeated last year in November.
“Two options remain for the board,” board president Andy Venters said. “The first one is to proceed with a permanent improvement levy that would hopefully be used to construct facilities, or the emergency levy renewal.”
“It is a big decision for the district and the community,” district superintendent Dr. Gretta Kumpf said.
In the end, board members agreed to postpone the renovation projects until March, then approved a resolution declaring their intent to proceed with putting the emergency levy renewal on the ballot this November.
In the meantime, several board members said they would like to hear regular updates on the renovations project and its progress.
“It would make me feel better if we had a plan,” board member Corine Doll said. “I hope we hear more about how we’re moving this forward from now until March. Otherwise our students and our staff are just floundering in buildings that are unacceptable by any standard.”
The board is also considering other ways to get started on the construction projects, like conducting a survey to measure community opinion on the L.T. Ball renovations or starting preliminary traffic studies. The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be held Monday, Aug. 26 at 6:30 pm in the board offices on South Tippecanoe Drive.
“Not to say we don’t need the emergency levy, because we absolutely do,” Spano said. “But we need facilities; we need to replace those buildings, and that’s got to happen as soon as we can do it successfully.”