Are the current school buildings ADA compliant?

None of our current facilities are completely compliant with the 1990 American's with Disabilities act. Some, like the middle school and high school, are inadequate to an embarrassing level, with no wheelchair access to the majority of areas of the building.

The full details of the ADA building code are available at: https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/2010ADAStandards/2010ADAstandards.htm

Detailed Question

Are the current school buildings ADA compliant?

If more people move to Rootstown in the future, will the school get more money for the property tax levy?

No. A property tax levy collects a specific dollar amount total, not a specific amount per homeowner. New construction and higher home values will mean that each individual homeowner pays less tax, as there are more properties to spread the burden over.

Detailed Question

If more people move to Rootstown in the future, will the school get more money for the property tax levy?

What are some of the benefits of LFIs (locally funded initiatives)?

Locally Funded Initiative (LFI) money is a great investment in our students’ development and growth, and their futures. Just like good educational facilities, money spent on LFIs such as an auditorium or athletic facilities is also a great investment.

Athletics, performing arts and other extracurricular activities provide life-long benefits; they offer so much more than a chance to throw a ball, play a clarinet, swing a bat, sing a song, run a fast lap or step on a mat for a few years. Life-long benefits include responsibility to community and community pride; improved academics; self-esteem, confidence, persistence, patience, practice, teamwork, leadership skills, time management and a success mindset. Countless studies supporting the long-term benefits of extracurricular activities can be found online. For a large majority of our student body, extracurricular activities are a big part of their growth and development.  In addition to drama, band, choir, Quiz Bowl and other extracurricular activities, Rootstown High School offers 18 total varsity sports, with 9 sports for boys and 9 sports for girls.  Rootstown Middle School offers 10 sport options, with 5 sports for boys and 5 sports for girls. During the 2016-2017 school year, out of approximately 600 students (7th -12th grade), 521 students (7th -12th grade) participated in one or more sports. Rootstown participates in the Portage Trail Conference, which is comprised of 15 area public schools. The Rootstown Athletic program also works closely with the local youth and community sports programs in Rootstown and surrounding communities by hosting skills camps and tournaments.

Detailed Question

What are some of the benefits of LFIs (locally funded initiatives)?

Why so many improvements to the athletic facilities?

Regarding athletic facilities, our gyms, the stadium and practice fields and the track are not only used by our students, but also by many community groups, including community youth groups. It is well known that updates to our current facilities are badly needed.

- The track has been unusable for decades for actual athletics; it is also barely usable by our physical education classes and the community.
- Our football/soccer field has a significant “crown,” and poor-to-no drainage.
- Our wrestling room and football/soccer/track locker rooms have poor-to-no air circulation/ventilation, and deteriorating structure.
- Concession stands and bathrooms by the stadium are in poor condition, and could be combined and settled in one location (closer to the stadium) for efficiency.

Detailed Question

Why so many improvements to the athletic facilities? Shouldn't we cut costs where possible?

What about the cost of new gymnasiums?

New gymnsiums, three in fact for high school, middle school and elementary school levels, are included in the Master Plan cost and allowed under the State funding model; they do not need to be part of LFIs.

Detailed Question

What about the cost of new gymnasiums? I don't see gyms listed in with the other athletic facility improvements.

Why are we building new? Why not renovate the buildings we have?

The State of Ohio will not fund ANY part of a rennovation. As part of the school capital program, the process begins by evaluating the current state of existing structures. In late 2015, the State evaluated all three RLSD buildings.

The evaluation creates a "% requiring replacement." Buildings under 60% generally are acceptable for renovation, rather than replacement.

The High School, built in 1966, was rated at 66%, just over the mark for a replacement recommendation.

The Elementary School, built in 1955, was rated at 74%, well above the replacement level.

The Middle School, built 100 years ago, was rated at 89%, also well above the replacement level.

The State will NOT help pay to renovate any structure that is OVER this replacement hurdle. As all three of our buildings were over the replacement hurdle, the state will pay for nothing if renovating is chosen. Renovating would preclude the district from receiving the 42% - $18 million dollars in funding - from the state.

Rennovation cost estimates have not been updated to reflect current construction costs and higher interest rates. 2017 calculations put the locally funded cost options at essentially the same level. Why rennovate for $30MM when you can have brand new buildings for the same cost?

Detailed Question

Why are we building new? Why not renovate the buildings we have?

Can we fit all of these new facilities on the current 36 acre lot on St. Rt. 44?

Everything our kids, our district and our community needs currently fits on the current location. We need a new building and our athletic facilities need upgrades, but everything we need does fit. In addition, our current three buildings take up more room than the proposed PreK-12 building will; that will free up even more of the property to use.

Besides fitting on the current lot, Hasenstab Architects have plans that allow the new building to be constructed without touching the old ones or moving any students until construction is complete.

Detailed Question

Can we fit all of these new facilities on the current 36 acre lot on St. Rt. 44?

Were other building locations considered?

Yes, this was considered leading up to the 2017 levy issue. A realty company was engaged to survey land in the township, available or not, that met the basic requirements. 12 lots were identified from this work.

The basic requirements are 50+ acres to build on and free of significant obstructions like railroads, water (creeks and ponds, etc) and directly overhead powerlines.

Based on these requirements, only two of these properties were viable. Of those two, one lot was not for sale, and the owner is not interested in selling.

The final lot is the 79 acre field on the Northwest corner of Cook Rd. and New Milford Rd., directly adjacent and east of the Gracie Field baseball complex. As of spring 2018, this lot has been sold and is not available.

There are no other locations in the school district that are suitable to use. The school must stay on the current site. Moving did not factor in to the facility levy 2018 decision.

Detailed Question

Were other building locations considered?

Why do local residents bear so much burden for capital improvements to their school districts?

Largely this is a State of Ohio budget issue. Given ALL of the needs of the state's residents, school capital projects only get so much funding. In our case, 42% of our core project costs, or $18MM.

The way Ohio funds schools has twice been declared unconstitutional, but the state of Ohio has not been made to change this. So, schools are left with few options, and those options unfortunately all land on the backs’ of residents and property owners. No school district is happy about this, but it is all they have to work with. No one wants new taxes, but to support local schools the State of Ohio has left little choice for school districts. 

Detailed Question

Why do local residents bear so much burden for capital improvements to their school districts?