Sewer problems close Mathews elementary school Tuesday

Currie Elementary students had to be transported to another school, reigniting discussion about the levy for a new school

mathews currie elementary school vienna

VIENNA, Ohio (WKBN) – A Mathews Local elementary school closed Tuesday after its septic tank backed up, forcing it to transport its nearly 150 kids to another school.

This isn’t the first time Currie Elementary has had this problem. In fact, both school leaders and parents say all of the buildings in the district are too broken and old to fix.

“You’re pouring more money into old buildings and all they’re going to do is continue to get old,” said Superintendent Lew Lowery.

Cindy Veets, a parent, says making repairs is just putting a very expensive band-aid on the crumbling buildings.

About 30 parents and teachers gathered in the high school cafeteria Tuesday night to discuss a bond issue that would solve this problem. In November, voters will be asked to pass a levy that would build a new K-12 school with taxpayer money.

“With new buildings, with all new facilities, all new utilities, we won’t have these patch jobs of $800,000 roofs for the high school that are beyond repair,” Veets said.

The new school would be built on the old Prestwick Golf Course and would cost around $25 million.

The Ohio School Facilities Commission would provide close to $4 million of that, leaving the rest to local taxpayers.

“You have to weigh the cost against what the benefits would be and if somebody truly looked at this, the cost versus benefits, I don’t see how they could say no to this,” Lowery said.

Not everyone agrees with the new tax increase. Some put up signs that say, “No More Taxes/Consolidate.”

One woman says she now knows consolidation is not an option, but keeps the sign up anyway. She hopes it will promote discussion about finding alternatives to building a new school, though she isn’t hopeful there will be a solution.

“Why did they not start this years ago when they knew our schools need to be replaced or repaired? Why didn’t they think of consolidation or solution?”

She says the bond would increase the land taxes for farmers with hundreds or thousands of acres, and is worried she won’t be able to afford them.

“They are the ones that are going to be paying a majority of the new school building. Is that fair?”

The tax issue will be on the ballot in November. If passed, the timeline for building the new school would be about three years.

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