Cortland was stake in school bond issue’s heart
CORTLAND — The Cortland precinct once again has proven to be an insurmountable obstacle for those trying to pass a bond issue for a new school complex in the Mathews Local School District.
According to incomplete and unofficial results from the Trumbull County Board of Elections, the only Cortland precinct that votes on the Mathews bond issue voted overwhelmingly against it, with a mere 20 votes for and 170 against. Although Fowler and Vienna township residents also voted against the bond issue, Cortland was the largest margin of defeat by far.
“No” votes from Cortland have contributed to the bond’s defeat in previous attempts and proved the deciding factor in the bond’s last attempt in November by contributing around 143 votes against, according to Tarin Brown, president of the Mathews Board of Education.
“If you took them out of the equation, it would have passed,” Brown said about the November results.
Despite the bond committee going door-to-door to speak to residents in Cortland, Brown said the committee’s message still had not reached a receptive audience there. A major part of the problem is only about 20 students at Mathews schools are from the Cortland precinct, so parents in the area don’t feel the need for a new school in Mathews when they can open enroll in the Lakeview Local School District.
“By and large those folks believe or fancy themselves more part of Cortland Lakeview even though they’re in Mathews School District,” Superintendent Lew Lowery said.
The 7.8-mill bond was intended to fund a new school complex for the Mathews Local School District, which will gather all the students in one building while replacing the three outdated school buildings. Mathews High School is over 100 years old and the two elementary buildings were built during the 1960’s.
At Currie Elementary School, the students had to be given bottled water because of concerns with arsenic levels in the school’s water. Teachers also have reported problems with the building’s heating, roof and septic system.
“I do hope we get something for the kids, that’s what we’re here for,” Brown said.
The school board will discuss whether to move forward with another attempt at passing the bond issue at its next meeting May 17.
How they voted
Cortland — 20 for, 170 against
Fowler — 363 for, 499 against
Vienna — 612 for, 642 against
Source: Trumbull County Board