Saturday , 15 June 2024

Ridgeville School Issues Will Be Back on May Ballot

Supt. of School Roxann Ramsey-Caserio and Mayor Kevin Corcoran

Where do we go from here? That was the question faced by North Ridgeville City and School officials when voters defeated the November bid to build new schools and a community center.

For answers, “We put out a survey after the November election to gather additional feedback and information,” said Supt. of School Roxann Ramsey-Caserio at Monday’s combined State of the City luncheon held at the NR Academic Center.

The answer: Voters will be asked to approve both a new high school and elementary school in May.

“Ultimately, we need it now,” said Ramsey-Caserio of the best answers for the community moving forward.

“Back in December, the Board of Education took the first step,” she said “We’re placing back on the May ballot a new high school and a new elementary building. We will be moving forward with that plan, assuming that the board continues to vote on the second resolution at the Jan. 17 meeting. We are very grateful for their support. We know this is not easy. Campaigning is certainly not easy. We are grateful to all of you who have helped us along the way and will continue to be supporters of our students and our school district. You will see that back on the May ballot. Again, a new high school and a new elementary school.”

Click here to view the State of the City Address slideshow

Jason Jacobs, President, NR City Council and Frank Vacha, President NR Board of Education.

The Survey

“There was a lot of information that we were able to take away,” said Ramsey-Caserio of the nearly 2200 surveys that were sent out after the November issues failed. “There were both specific and open-ended questions, which allowed officials to gain deeper insight into the desires of the community,” she continued. “Ultimately, it gives us an idea of how to approach things moving forward.

“We had 2179 community members respond. 1850 were registered voters. We were looking to see who is affiliated with our school and who is not.

“We had 1238 people who are directly affiliated with our schools and 933 who are not.

The interesting thing was that 86 percent of those who responded actually voted in the November election. So there were a number of people who responded who did not vote.

“We know that the 35-54 age range was our highest voting composition.”

Insufficient Facilities

“One of the biggest questions was asking about the facilities and whether they are sufficient, or in this case, insufficient,” said Mayor Corcoran of the survey. “As you can see by the responses, pretty much everybody agrees that they are insufficient.”

Letters

The outstanding Choral and Dance performances of NRHS students provided entertainment.

Mayor Corcoran also shared comments he received in letters from two residents.

The first: “As the parent of a child who will be entering the school system in the next two years, it is disheartening to see these levies and bond issues fail. My husband and I are actively looking to move to a city where residents support the schools, community buildings and are forward-thinking. I really wish that North Ridgeville could be that. But the citizens here are telling us otherwise by their votes.”

The second: “My children attend another district, but we are still strong supporters of the NRCS district. I was glad to see this innovation plan put forward. Please keep pushing forward and focusing on the big picture.”

Use of Taxpayer Money

“I think we did see that people said that the use of taxpayer money was a good idea for a town center,” said the Mayor of the city component of last November’s issues. “That was exactly opposite of the way they voted. It was interesting, but, overall, the feedback we got was that everything was just too much at that time considering the way that the economy was.”

Nicole Roth, NR City Schools and Patricia Bahr, NR Rotary

The Need

“Without a doubt, the high school and Liberty Elementary, which is our first and second grade building, are well over capacity,” said Ramsey-Caserio. “It is very clear (from the survey) that 69 per cent of respondents support replacing the high school and 62 per cent support replacing Liberty.

“There are lots of factors that go into how the decision was made to alternately not renovate but to replace the buildings,” she continued. “Most of you are familiar with that, but ultimately what we learned moving forward is that there were parts of the overall ask that were either not understood, people did not like or appreciate, and so we needed to determine what the next steps would be.”

“The survey asked ‘what is the priority for the community moving forward’ and they said the ‘best long term plan,’ the top priority for every age group that responded,” added Corcoran. “The ‘best long term plan’ essentially means using your money the best way, the most efficient and the wisest. You want something that will last and not a short term fix. So the idea is new vs. renovating.

High School Gas Leaks

Adding to the woes at the high school, said Corcoran, was a December gas leak that called for evacuation.” Pipes at fault were found to be under the science classrooms and have been red-flagged,” reports Corcoran. “So, there will not be science classes permitted at the high school (The faulty pipes run under the Science area).because they are red-flagged. High school science will be moving over to the academic center along with grades 3 through 12, which is a lot of kids. Classes have been moved to another school where students in grades 3-12 must share limited and inadequate space.”

Community Center?

A new Community Center was also on the November ballot and lost. It remains as part of the city Master Plan. “We have several goals we will be working on this year,” said Mayor Corcoran. “The master plan is one of our primary goals. It establishes a roadmap for the future. As a component of that, we’ll also be looking at the Town Center, which is the old Middle School property in the area between Center Ridge and Bainbridge, reaching from Center Ridge Road to the school property all the way down to the city property. Infrastructure projects, economic development and communications are all goals of ours that are coming up.

North RIdgeville Service Department Employees Rick Simonyi, Jon Montgomery, Anthony Oliva and Ray Ford were there to support the community.

State of the City Address

For the second year, Supt. of Schools Roxann Ramsey-Caserio and Mayor Kevin Corcoran shared the podium at the North Ridgeville Academic Center as they welcomed about 300 guests to the combine address.

The North Ridgeville Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the city and schools presented the State of North Ridgeville address.

The mayor and superintendent offered overviews of every aspect or North Ridgeville life in a slide show format with commentary by both leaders. They also offered interactive question and answer sessions with the audience, getting real-time answers to subjects of interest in the community.

Sponsorship

Thank you to sponsors: Bill Kendall, Costin/Kendall CPAs, Paul Klein, Cleveland Magazine, Jason Jacobs, O’Neill Healthcare, Dr. Marcia Ballinger, LCCC, Joe Martin, LCCC, and DAndre Nixon, iN Education, Inc.

Special thanks to North Ridgeville Schools choral groups for excellent musical entertainment.

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