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Opinion: Wadsworth Citizens Should have a say in CIS Budget Change

The original model for the new CIS building prior to the changes in budget. This layout may undergo changes once new plans for the building arrives, leaving the Wadsworth community with different results based on their original expectations. Photo courtesy of Douglas Beeman.

Central Intermediate School, or CIS, has recently been approved to receive an entirely new building and campus beginning the school year of 2025-2026. Although the Wadsworth City School District’s Board of Education was originally approved to invest $41 million into the new project, recent controversies have caused the Board to reevaluate the overall expenditure, leaving the Wadsworth community to handle more funds than originally delegated.

Before any changes were considered for the campus’s budget, the citizens in Wadsworth were presented with a bond levy that would determine the amount of money utilized for the project. Brandon Cobb, the principal of CIS, has been involved with the details of the project and its role within the community.

“Our community voted to pass a bond levy in November of 2021, enabling us to design and build the new intermediate school,” Cobb said.

Although the bond levy had already been passed by the community in 2021, recent expenditures and needs have caused the budget for the project to be altered. More specifically, the budget has been adjusted from $41 million to just above $51 million, requiring an additional $10 million to complete the project. Cobb suggests that there are multiple reasons for these necessary modifications.

“The budget changes were based on rising costs for labor and materials,” Cobb said.

The construction of the new CIS building has begun and is positioned directly in front of the high school. The fifth and sixth grade students of 2025-2026 will attend this building. Photo by Drew Bowerman.

Regardless of the fact that community members agreed to only $41 million being dedicated to the new building instead of $51 million, Cobb does not feel that there should be a new levy to be voted on in response to the price increase.

“We should not return to the voters to raise additional funds for this project,” Cobb said.

Although Wadsworth City Schools has no plans of asking the community their views on where the money for the larger budget should come from, Wadsworth voters should be given the opportunity to reevaluate the situation for two significant reasons. Not only are voters now facing potential changes in the design of the new CIS structure, but they are also forced to accept an entirely new budget that is much higher than originally voted upon.

“There are some changes to the building, such as the amount of glass,” Cobb said. “The scope of the construction project has been adjusted appropriately to align with the current budget.”

Even though learning spaces are expected to remain similar to original plans, Wadsworth voters are still not given the same blueprint and design that they considered when voting on the issue. Altering the original design should not be done because the students who will be attending the school in the future, along with all staff and faculty members of CIS, have already been promised a specific design with modern features.

With this potential change in structure, Wadsworth citizens have also not been given a choice on where the $10 million that is going to be added to the budget will come from. It is important that voters get a say on this, as funds from other areas within the district must be reallocated toward the CIS project.

Elyse Errington, a senior at WHS, has a sibling who will be attending CIS during the 2025-2026 school year and feels that Wadsworth City Schools should aim to pass a levy to raise the money instead.

“I’ll pay more taxes so my brother can have a new school,” Errington said. “I still want the community to have a say on the budget increase. I think we should have another vote on where it comes from.”

Instead of allocating funds without the consent of citizens, the administration should allow voters to have a role in the overall outcome of the new campus, including its budget.

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Drew Bowerman
Drew Bowerman, Features Editor
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    Don ThomasOct 17, 2023 at 9:35 pm

    Pretty hard to believe that a $10M overrun is due to labor and materials, as there is not a whole lot of construction occurring currently. I think their needs to be an audit and facts provided to the Wadsworth tax payers.