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EACS to take $89 million project to referendum vote

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 8:17 am

East Allen County Schools board voted unanimously Tuesday night to put its New Haven and Harding construction projects to a referendum vote on the May ballot.

Business Manager Kirby Stahly said the next steps will be to take the resolution to the Allen County Election Board and the Voter Registration Office to have a discussion about how to proceed.

Because of declining enrollment and years of unbalanced budgets, the district is undergoing a redesign process, including closing and consolidating schools. As part of its redesign, the district is creating five feeder systems in its five distinct communities.

Leo will stay the same, while construction projects are scheduled to create K-12 campuses at the current sites of Woodlan and Heritage junior-senior high schools.

These projects, both under $12 million, are currently in different stages of the remonstrance process, meaning the district and community members are gathering signatures to either move forward or defeat these projects.

The last day to turn in signatures for the Woodlan project remonstrance is Feb. 12.

Instead of allowing the New Haven and Harding area projects to enter the same remonstrance process, the board decided to put the question on the ballot as a referendum for a communitywide vote.

State law allows a referendum because of the project's larger price tag.

The almost $89 million project includes a renovated New Haven Intermediate School at the current site of Park Hill Learning Center, additions at New Haven High School to accommodate seventh- and eighth-graders and renovations at the former Harding High School to create East Allen University.

If the Woodlan, Heritage, New Haven and East Allen University projects move forward, a homeowner's taxes on a home with a $100,000 assessed value will increase $83 per year.