Bond issue back on ballot for Canton Local

By WALTER DOERSCHUK The Press-News Published:

Kim Redmond enjoyed the positive vibe during a community rally for Issue 46 last week.

"The rally was a huge success to begin a positive vibe in the community," said Redmond, the district superintendent of Canton Local Schools. "A lot of different aspects of the rally touched a lot of different people."

A crowd of about 500 attended the event in an effort to pass a bond issue to fund a new high school. Voters will now decide on the issue on Election Day next week.

Voters decided to turn down a bond issue for Canton Local the last two times it was on the ballot.

Some tweaks have been made regarding the particulars of the issue, which was defeated by 26 votes during May's election.

The cost is now $36.6 million as opposed to the $37.2 million cost in May's election.

In addition to funding a new high school, minor renovations to Walker Elementary School and Faircrest Memorial Middle School will be made if the issue is passed.

Prairie College Elementary School, the district's administration building and the current high school building would be abated and demolished. Rest rooms would also be constructed for Clyde Brechbuler Stadium.

In May, artificial turf for the stadium was included in the details. After getting feedback from community members, district officials decided to take that off for this election. The turf will now be funded from a private donor if the district decides to install it.

If the issue passes, the design process for the new school would begin right away. The new school would be completed in time for the 2017-2018 school year.

Stark County Commissioner Janet Weir Creighton, one of the speakers at the community rally, said maintaining and improving schools have a significance because they are staples of communities. She added the Canton Local School District is an important part of Canton Township.

"Canton Township is the fifth largest section in the county," Creighton said. "It's so important that it remain healthy."

She added schools that are in poor condition bring down the rest of the surrounding area.

Creighton, a former mayor of Canton, used an apple as an analogy.

"What happens to an apple when its core rots?" she said. "The rest of the apple is no good either."

Canton Local is looking to improve the health of its enrollment as well .

The number of students attending Canton Local Schools has dropped each year for the past five to seven years, Redmond said.

"It certainly has been trending down," she said.

Redmond added the district hasn't been talking as much this time around to those who have turned down the bond issue. She said district officials have still tried to answer any questions voters have though.

Those voters will make the decision on the bond issue on Nov. 5.

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