The fate of Issue 116, the bond issue for the Strongsville schools, will be decided at the polls next Tuesday.
If you haven't already voted, here are some things you might want to know before you cast your ballot.
1. It may be now or never.
Officials have acknowledged if the bond issue doesn't pass this year, it would be a much tougher sell later.
Superintendent John Krupinski calls this time "our perfect storm" to pass a bond issue.
Biggest factor: Most homeowners would see their taxes rise only slightly, even though it's a large bond issue.
"This is an opportunity we won't have again," Ward 3 Councilman Jim Carbone agreed. "Bond rates are low, construction rates are low and we have money we can recapture."
The bond issue would allow the district to build a $46 million middle school on the site of the current 104-year-old Center Middle School; make $26 million in building and technology improvements at Strongsville High School; and put $9 million into elementary school buildings.
2. Here's why homeowners would see only a small increase in taxes.
Two existing bond issues that cost $77 a year for every $100,000 in home valuation are expiring.
The $81 million, 33-year bond issue would cost homeowners about $2.09 a month more per $100,000 in valuation than they pay now.
If the bond issue doesn't pass, homeowers will see their property taxes decrease about $6 a month.
3. The money can only be used for physical improvements, not salaries.
That's the law. Levies can pay for operating expenses; bond issues are for physical improvements.
4. The issue would save $1.5 to $2 million a year in operating costs.
Once a new middle school is built, Krupinski estimates the district will save a minimum of $1.5 million a year in operating costs -- from consolidating two buildings into one, and from lower energy and maintenance expenses.
5. Fringe benefits would include better technology at the high school and the potential to add all-day kindergarten.
"This is not just about facilities. It's providing our students with technology they have at home, but they don't have at school," Krupinski said. "It's still the teacher that's the most important part of the classroom, but that teacher needs tools."
Also, with sixth-graders being moved to the new middle school, the elementary buildings would have room to provide all-day kindergarten -- a shortcoming that has led to declining enrollment, the superintendent said.