After being shown the present conditions of the schools in the Switzerland of Ohio School District, those attending a public meeting at Beallsville school on April 9, were presented with plans for the future of the district. Those plans, which hinge on the passage of an 8.19 mills tax levy on the May 5 ballot, include a new K-12 building for Beallsville. That amounts to 81.9 cents for each $100 of assessed tax valuation.
School officials and an architect from Balog, Steines, Hendricks and Manchester Architects of Youngstown, spoke about the dismal conditions of the district's buildings, including the Powhatan Point Elementary School that was built in 1876.
Issues addressed at the meeting included the lack of registered voters in the district, the fate of the current Beallsville building and the proposed site for the new Beallsville K-12 building.
The preferred site is on the hill near the existing building. That property is currently owned by the Monroe County Park District. Officials said they were still in negotiations with that entity, however, a site would be made official before the May 5 special election and any other site chosen would be in Beallsville.
Switzerland of Ohio is the largest district in the state. District voters have been given a "one-chance" opportunity which would reduce the local share for construction of six new buildings and the renovation of another to give the district seven new education complexes.
Superintendent Larry Elliott said the availability of a reduced local share for the buildings would leave the district responsible for only 37 percent of the total costs, rather than the usual 55 percent.
In Beallsville, there would be a K-12 campus involving a new high school and new grade school. The district would also construct new buildings for Monroe Central High School as well as elementary buildings for Woodsfield, Skyvue, Powhatan and a combined building for Sardis and Hannibal elementary students.
The district currently serves 2,700 students from a three-county area, including students in Monroe, Noble and Belmont counties.
Past levies have been defeated by district voters, however, officials, who are spending $50,000 to put the levy on the May 5 ballot, feel the support is there and the "time is now."