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Board places bond issue on the Nov. 4 ballot

The Board of Education has agreed to ask voters for money to complete a school construction and modernization program, but the issue that appears on the Nov. 4 ballot would not raise taxes.

A single question on the ballot will include both a $200 million bond issue for construction and renovation and a half-mill property tax for building repair and maintenance. But through aggressive repayment of existing debt, the District has taken steps to ensure that property owners would pay no more in taxes.

A revised master facilities plan calls for building as many as 20 schools and refreshing 23 to 25 others. The plan also calls for closing four elementary schools, but none would close this school year.

The new schools would replace and consolidate larger, obsolete structures.

Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon instructed planners to ensure that quality options are available in every neighborhood, as promised under The Cleveland Plan, a state-approved blueprint for reform.

He also asked that plans be flexible, so the District can handle more students, should reforms attract families to the schools, or downsize, should enrollment continue to decline.

The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission will pay 68 percent of the cost of construction included in the master plan.

CMSD and the state began the construction and renovation program after the gym roof collapsed at the former East High School.

‪So far, the District and state have built 31 schools and fully renovated seven others. Three more schools – John Marshall High School, Max S. Hayes High School and the Cleveland School of the Arts – are under construction.