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Mariemont school issue carries high stakes for district, homeowners

Posted: 4:41 AM, Nov 03, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-05 09:40:24-05
Mariemont school issue carries high stakes for district, homeowners

MARIEMONT, Ohio - The fate of dozens of Mariemont City Schools staff will be decided on Nov. 6. The decision on whether they stay or go lies with voters.

Both sides are making their message heard through yard signs and websites – ForMariemontSchools.org for supporters and WayTooMuch.org for opponents.

McKenzie Gampfer, 18, has lived in the Mariemont City Schools district her whole life. She will graduate from the high school this year.

 “I was in the Mariemont elementary, too,” Gampfer said. She thinks the school building needs some work.

 “I know one of our bathrooms the sewage came up in the past, and sometimes the heat will only works in one part of the school,” Gampfer said.  

Mariemont City Schools will have a combined issue Tuesday’s ballot in hopes of changing some of that.

A 2.5 mills operating levy “will help maintain our existing programs and staff,” said Superintendent Steven Estepp. And a 5.75 mills permanent improvement levy would address “infrastructure and systems’ challenges as well as safety and security challenges,” Estepp said.

If it passes, it could cost the property owner anywhere from $24 a month to $120.

While Gampfer said she plans to vote “yes,”  Mariemont resident Philip Bender said he’ll vote “no.”

Bender says he has lived there for more than 10 years with no family members ever studying in the school district.

“I’m retired - live on a fixed income. I can afford it, but it’s going to be a burden,” Bender said.

While supporters have their share of yard signs,  the sign on Bender’s lawn - and many other lawns - points to   WayTooMuch.org. It says the school district construction plan could displace students for two years and it’s too expensive.

“It’s going to cause my taxes to go up about $1,000 a year,” Bender said. “I think the taxes are high. I think they’re spending way too much money on something that could’ve been done a lot cheaper.”      

Superintendent Estepp says if it doesn’t pass, 29 staff members might lose their jobs.

“We know we’re going to have to implement about $2 million in reductions,” Estepp said.

Some courses and field trips would also have to be eliminated.

“The 2.5 mill operating levy will generate about $1 million dollars annually for our school district,” Estepp said. “The permanent improvement levy will generate $43 million in total to take on those projects.”