TIPP CITY — At a special meeting held Monday night, the Tipp City school board voted to pull a proposed stadium bond issue from the March ballot.
Board members Andrew Venters, Theresa Dunaway, Sam Spano and Carla Frame voted to removed the bond issue. Board member Frank Maus voted no, saying he had made a commitment to support the stadium issue.
The previous board voted to place a 0.69 mill bond issue on the March 2016 ballot that would generate $5 million to fund the construction or improvement of the district’s stadium. A location for a new stadium was not determined.
The district also has a 3.98 mill bond issue on the March ballot to construct a new elementary school on the site of the current Broadway Elementary School.
All board members acknowledged that the district’s aging stadium needs attention, but several expressed concerns that having two bond issues on the ballot at the same time might cause confusion.
“Trying to pass two levies at one time in such a short time frame, I just don’t think it makes practical sense,” Frame said.
Spano pointed out that the stadium has been a problem for several years. He said that the board he was on in 2000 tried and failed to pass bond issues for the high school that included athletic facilities.
“Here we are today with a stadium (bond issue) that we don’t know anything about, really,” Spano said. He compared the proposed bond issue to a game show. “We’ve got door number one, door number two, and door number three. Every one of those doors costs $5 million. I can’t tell you what’s behind door number one, door number two, or door number three.”
Spano said that the community needs to know where and how big the stadium will be before the district returns to the ballot.
The board also heard from several residents, who mostly agreed that now is not the time to address the stadium issue.
“Both issues are valid needs, there’s no question about that. But in my mind, educational issues should have precedent,” resident Tom Persing said.
Persing said that having two issues on the ballot at the same time could confuse voters, citing his past experience with school levy campaigns.
Resident Jesse Wilson spoke in favor of the stadium issue, saying athletics gives students and residents something to look forward to.
“I willing to pay for whatever just for the kids and the athletics,” he said.
All of the board members said they would work to develop a detailed stadium proposal before asking the voters to approve funding. Several board members also spoke in favor of pursuing private funding for a new stadium.
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