Letters to the editor - updated March 5
Whining about mean spirited politics
During recess at the grade school I was attending, four students attacked me demanding I tell them who my parents voted for. I told them voting is secret and you had the right not to tell.
I was knocked to the ground while these four punched and kicked me. I was all arms and legs, furiously fighting back. The bell that ends recess saved me. They ran into the school building, while I brushed the dirt and gravel off my clothes.
I wiped my nose and face with my handkerchief and pulled up my knee-high argyle socks and adjusted my corduroy knickers and went back to class.
I get a chuckle out of the whining and moaning done today about mean spirited politics.
So much history we can learn about Franklinton
In 1997, I read historical research left by Joseph Sullivant. He mentions Boke born of a slave, belonging to the Sullivant family, nursed by his mother and buried in Green Lawn Cemetery. I searched for him and found his headstone in three pieces. The discovery made the pages of Columbus media.
The city wants to erase and rewrite Columbus history, excluding African-American contributions. Why? Because the Sullivant family name comes into focus, like Sullivant marrying Sarah Starling and being responsible for bringing the first African-Americans to Franklinton in 1801 – Boke’s mother and a male African-American.
Black History Month has come to a close. I am ashamed at how some notable educators and others (not all on purpose) skirt around the subject to make it sound good or paint a beautiful picture. History is sometimes ugly.
The Sullivants were not ashamed of Boke, they had compassion for him and taught him surveying skills. Joseph writes Boke was the first male African-American nurse.
In 1841, Boke was buried in the old Franklinton Cemetery. In 1848, he was removed and put with the Sullivants in Green Lawn. There was a protest to keep him out, blacks were not allowed, but Joseph fought to have him in the family plot.
A small investment with huge benefits
The immediate need is obvious to anyone who has visited our school buildings. These buildings are old, antiquated, inefficient structures that are very expensive to operate and aren’t providing our students with the best opportunity for success.
If Issue 8 is defeated, these dollars go away, perhaps forever.
Millions of dollars in maintenance and operating expenses go away if we replace these schools with new, modern buildings.
Existing millage will finance the local share of construction costs. That means no increase in tax rates residents are already paying. While it’s true that without Issue 8, some millage would expire as bonds are paid, but the benefit would be very small – less than $90 a year on a $100,000 house.
Issue 8 is a small investment that will pay huge dividends for the students and citizens of South-Western City Schools. I strongly urge my fellow voters to vote "Yes" on Issue 8 on March 6.
Issue 8 is a load of bull
What I demand, from Dr. Bill Wise, the superintendent of South-Western City Schools, and his staff is to start thinking outside the box. And for that matter all the other school districts in Ohio as well.
What does the future look like? How do we get there?
It is not with new buildings. Instead of the funding of new buildings, what if we use that money for online schooling? It would be less money needed for new buildings, less money needed for maintenance of our current buildings and less money needed for staffing.
We need people in charge to improve our school’s foundation, not to stay status quo.
I think, it is time for me to start taking this matter to my state representative. If he cannot be of assistance, then my only other choice would be to take this through our court system.
It is time to change the way our schools are funded.
Issue 8, on the March 6 ballot, provides us a similar opportunity. If voters support Issue 8, we will be able to partner with the Ohio School Facilities Commission to replace 13 aging elementary school buildings, provide minor renovations to the two remaining elementary school buildings, and replace Franklin Heights High School, our oldest high school. This can happen without any increase to our residents’ annual taxes.
If the community is willing to continue its current level of support, the state of Ohio will provide us with more than $120 million toward the project. These new, replacement schools also eliminate $40 million in deferred maintenance, and provide the up-to-date school buildings our students need. With the elimination of the deferred maintenance, we would be able to better meet the needs of our students in the remainder of the buildings.
If it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t. This is the result of fiscal planning and the retirement of some previous bond debt. The project size is based on meeting the required minimum project size stipulated by the Ohio School Facilities Commission, while ensuring taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay any more annually than they are currently paying.
This project will reduce the number of school buildings that we currently operate. The reduction of a building, and the improved efficiencies associated with replacement buildings, will have a positive impact on our operating funds.
Our elementary school buildings and Franklin Heights have obsolete electrical systems that cannot support today’s technology. The heating and ventilation systems are outdated making it difficult to control air quality and temperatures within the buildings. Our aging schools experience frequent power outages, frozen pipes and other facility failures. The buildings are at the point where maintenance issues continue to outpace the dollars available to make these repairs.
If we delay this issue, it could mean the state funds will no longer be available, interest rates begin to climb, and construction costs increase. A future issue will cost the community more money, funds will continue to be spent on aging facilities, and thousands of children will not have access to the facilities they need to build their future.
At the end of every episode of ‘Extreme Makeover,’ they close with “move that bus” to reveal the new home to the family. On March 6 it will be up to the community to decide how we will end our episode of Extreme Makeover: School Edition.
The Ohio School Boards Association endorses Issue 8
Issue 8 presents a unique opportunity for the South-Western community - 14 replacement school buildings and renovations to other buildings at no additional annual cost. Issue 8 gives the district the authority to collect funds it is already receiving and use them for a new project.
The passage of Issue 8 would fund 13 replacement elementary schools and a new Franklin Heights High School, the district’s oldest high school. It also would enable the district to renovate its other two elementary schools.
SWCS will receive $120 million in state funds, from the Ohio School Facilities Commission, if voters approve Issue 8. If the bond issue fails, the state will send that money elsewhere.
The buildings to be replaced have $40 million in deferred maintenance costs; outdated electrical systems that cannot support modern educational technology; inefficient heating and ventilation systems; obsolete security systems; inadequate handicap accessibility; and classrooms that are too small to meet today’s educational standards.
Passage of the 2.9-mill bond issue will keep the collection rate at or below 2012 levels. All of the funds will be used for new facilities, building renovations and other permanent improvements. None of the funds will go toward operating costs, salaries or benefits.
Issue 8 presents residents with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Besides not increasing costs, it will eliminate disparities across the district.
Issue 8 is what we've been waiting for
We can use the millions saved toward technology and upgrades throughout the district. The best part is we don’t have to pay any more in taxes than we already pay. You couldn’t ask for a better case scenario. This is going to save us millions in the long run and help our district maintain its “Excellent” rating.
For those complaining that our schools aren’t treated equally, this bond will erase these notions, as we will all be benefiting from either a new school, renovated school or educational resources. There is no downside to passing Issue 8. This is what we’ve been waiting for.
It doesn’t get any better than this.