By Lenny C. Lepola
District superintendent Steve Mazzi told the Big Walnut Local Schools Board of Education that he wants to assure members of the community that Big Walnut is in constant contact with local commercial and residential developers who are developing properties west of Sunbury.
“Everything is moving at a slow pace right now, but it is going to pick up,” Mazzi said. “Sunbury Village Council has said this is an enormous undertaking with a 20-plus year build-out. The Simon Tanger Outlet mall is only 50 acres. These other developers are talking 2,500 acres, and what I want to reinforce, what I want the community to understand, is we’re going to be involved every step of the way to keep our school district whole.”
Mazzi also noted misinformation floating around about money the school district would receive from the outlet mall.
“I don’t want the community to think all this money is going to be paid into the school district,” Mazzi said. “People are talking about millions in sales tax, but school districts do not get a penny from sales tax. We have to be careful because that kind of misinformation hurts us. There’s no hard and fast numbers about money yet, there’s no hard and fast build-out schedule. What we have to do is what we are doing: be aware and involved and in the know.”
In other meeting items, Mazzi said Big Walnut Bingo has closed down. When it started 20 years ago, Bingo funded Big Walnut Athletic Boosters activities.
“Bingo got to the point where expenditures were outpacing revenue,” Mazzi said. “No matter what we tried, the cost benefit was not helping us.”
Mazzi said closing Bingo does have one positive ripple effect.
“All schools in Delaware County were 100 percent smoke-free except Big Walnut because Bingo patrons were allowed to smoke on the high school cafeteria’s back patio,” Mazzi said. “We can now officially announce that our campuses are 100 percent smoke-free. Don’t be surprised if you’re smoking outside during an event you’re asked to put out your cigarette.”
Mazzi said ‘No Smoking’ signage is in the works, and Big Walnut’s 100 percent smoke-free status would be posted on the school district website.
The next regularly scheduled Big Walnut Local School District Board of Education meeting will be held Aug. 14 in the Big Walnut High School Media center.