Today, voters in the St. Clairsville-Richland Public School district will head to the polls to shape the future of their town’s education system.
It was proposed in July by Build STC, a community organization that leads the support for the $79.8 million levy.
“First and foremost, I want to remind everyone that this is about children,” said Sara Myser, Co-Chair of Build St. C. “This is why we are here.”
The proposed levy will provide a multitude of upgrades over three phases, including a new high school and elementary school.
“We have kids having services in janitor closets. We have students who have mobility issues who have to walk outside to get to their classes because the building is not ADA compliant. We have students who do not have adequate science labs,” said Myser. “They are limited by their technology. And just students who are not receiving the educational opportunities that they deserve.”
For many other residents, though, the proposed price tag is a reason for alarm.
“The levy is going to put a hardship on the seniors who are on a fixed income,” said Bill Brooks a vocal opponent of the levy. “It’s going to put a hardship on young people…that are starting out in life and their parents may have left them a house and they are working two jobs and not getting 40 hours and doing it for minimum wage maybe out at the mall or something like that. They can’t afford this.”
Opponents of the levy have organized meetings with residents, allowing voters to speak their thoughts on the topic.
“This is a real estate nightmare,” said St. Clairsville resident Drew Barbour. “You will never be able to sell your home if this tax goes through.”
Many residents said that officials have not consulted with the community as well as they should have ahead of the proposal.
“We’re here. We’re reaching out to you,” said radio personality Dimitri Vassilaros. “Stonewalling is not any way to have any kind of communication. This is so unfair to the taxpayers and we have got to do something about this.”
To see 7News’s in-depth conversation with both Build STC and the opposition, click here.
For now, the discussion is over, and voters will make their decision on the future of St. Clairsville-Richland schools.