by Linda Holtkamp

We are a generous city, especially where our schools are involved. We have passed levy after levy after levy, by comfortable margins, whenever we were told there was need.

Now, we are being told there is great need, urgent need, to bring our facilities up to date.

Linda Holtkamp lives in the Plantation Pointe subdivision in Symmes Township

And it’s going to require enormous sacrifice. The schools all need to be extensively revamped or demolished, and it will cost each property owner thousands of dollars, additional, every year, for a very long time. 37 years at the minimum. And, well, most of the money will have to be paid forever.  We are going to build big, and we are going to build new. Renovating, for the most part, is not an option.

Repairing or using what we already have at the primary school level is off the table. We need new land, 110 acres of it, and it will cost $7.7 million dollars. It’s raw land, so, it will need massive amounts of expensive preparation before it can even be built upon. We need three new, state of the art buildings on that land, with brand new everything inside. Just figure about $92,000,000 for the whole project, and we have Preschool through 5th grade settled.

Middle school is in pretty good shape, having been renovated when the high school was built. But, we could build outside bathrooms and clean up the sports area in the back, add an 8 lane track so the track team does not have to go all the way to the high school to practice, and new bleachers. The school needs a skylight because it’s too dark inside, and upgrades to the entrance. Let’s budget about $25,000,000.

The high school is our newest complex, but still needs some high ticket items.

For sports, the need is for turf on baseball, softball, and a multi-purpose field. Grass is not good enough, as occasionally it gets muddy. We absolutely need new concession stands and a new gateway entrance because, well, we just do. We should budget about $10 million for sports.

The school itself has big, costly needs. The auditorium, while it is absolutely fine, almost brand new, is too small for Show Choir and band concerts. We need new, so let’s plan for the future in a big way. Let’s go with a two-story, 1,000 seat auditorium. Around that, we will build multiple band rooms, art rooms, and a photo studio. $16,000,000. Sixteen Million Dollars. Just for Fine Arts. That should do it. Good acoustics are pricy. 

Remember that existing, beautiful, approximately 578 seat auditorium with years of usable life left? We will completely demolish that, level out the floor, and use that space for science labs. The Robotics Team members will get space there, along with lots of ultra-expensive equipment to further their projects. 

The total budget for the high school reno and new building will amount to $53,000,000.

As you see, almost half of the money is going to the two newest school complexes.

Grand total, with more thrown in for overruns: $165,000,000. Plus $7.7 million for the land

You will get great satisfaction sending the schools 43% more school property taxes each year. On top of what you already pay. And, this increase is so large, the schools will never need to ask for money again, right?

Nope. Look for another levy in 3 years, for more operating expenses.

That is a promise, as well.

Join your neighbors and fellow taxpayers who find this plan, and the costs involved, totally unworkable.

Vote AGAINST the levy on Tuesday, November 5.

It’s OK to say NO.


  1. While you are building Taj Mahals, add a few classrooms back that will help train kids for jobs outside of music and science. Shop classes back in the schools isn’t a bad thing. Not everyone is programed to work with computers and what not. Thousands of skilled trades construction jobs go unfilled every year. You go through an apprenticeship, and earn while you learn. Graduating debt free with a steady job to boot.
    That would be the only building I would vote for.

  2. Pk-4 are failing and the cost to repair and maintain makes little sense not to rebuild. School needs are different today then they were 20 years ago. Student needs must be at the forefront. The time of students sitting in rows regurgitating what the teacher says are long gone. Students must have the space to learn in groups, working on projects and allow for investigation – this develops critical thinking skills and the ability to work in groups to problems solve. This is absolutely necessary for our kids to be competitive in the 21st century job markets.
    As for the land – it is the only land large enough for this project. By constructing the three schools on one campus, services can be shared between schools which helps to lower operating costs. It is also less disruptive to the students and the community – one time build, one time move from one building to another. Students won’t be shifted around.
    Turf fields – yea, they are needed. You can’t play in the mud- it isn’t safe. Safety is a requirement for all of our fields – those who play sports on them, or march on them have to be safe. Not to mention, it isn’t fair to our students to miss a large portion of their season and practice time because the fields were not safe to play on because it was too muddy.
    Robotics and other lab rooms are essential. Look around, I have no idea what the job market will be like in 15- 20 years – but technology will be a large part of it. Science will be a large part of it. We have to prepare our students for those jobs. Those jobs may or may not require college and not everyone needs to go to college, but our students MUST be prepared for a fast-paced and ever changing world. The arts are ever growing and expanding. The current bands need room to practice and perform, choirs need room to practice and perform – and audiences need seats to sit in. And big kids cost more – you have to allot more building space per square foot for high schoolers than you do the little kids, thus costs are higher. The auditorium is anything but fine and brand new. And the additional expansion building would need to be built anyway for classroom space if the current auditorium remained, and wasn’t then repurposed for the classroom space as is the plan.
    School operating funds are typically on a 3-4 year schedule. No one thinks the way schools are funded is OK. But this is Ohio’s system we have to work in and our kids should not suffer because we disagree with how schools are funded. Take that up with your state officials.
    The can, for these necessary needs, has been kicked down the road long enough. The need is now. You vote no, you risk your property values. All you have to do is look at Little Miami – it took that district 10 years to bounce back – don’t let that happen here. Strong, well funded schools equals strong property values, a strong community, and strong competitive students for the 21st century.

    • I couldn’t have said it better Lisa. As a mother of a baseball player I know how unsafe the fields are when wet. And as a mother of son who is largely involved in the arts I know how important practice space is and for us parents to be able to see our kids on stage (not off to the side because of space).

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