Letters to the editor
We are the levy
I am a sophomore in high school, and in addition to nine classes, I am also very involved in extra-curricular activities: Pencil Dust, Cultural Diversity, marching band, Drama Club, and Thespians. I know that these are not the most well-known clubs or teams, but they are just as important to the students as football.
It is the after-school activities that prepare us, the students, for what lies ahead. These clubs, teams, and organizations make us well-rounded people. Extra-curricular activities give us leadership and social skills, and also teach us important lessons in time-management. Extra-curriculars give us opportunities to discover ourselves and our true passions and open doors to our futures.
Without this levy, many doors will be left unopened and our bright futures will slowly dim. How is a student to stand out from all the others applying to the same college with nothing more than a transcript to show?
I speak for all of the South-Western City School students when I say, "We are the levy. Vote for us."
Vote to keep us off the streets and out of trouble and to give us all promising futures. We are your kids, grandkids, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, friends, and neighbors. We work in local stores and restaurants, and we baby-sit your kids and mow your front lawns. You have seen us in parades, games, theatre productions and tournaments. We write, sing, act and play sports and instruments. Not all of our futures lie solely in academics. We are your youth and your community.
We are the levy. The levy is our future. Vote for us. Vote for the levy.
However, I would suggest that's exactly what we should be thinking about and asking ourselves - what responsibility do we have to provide a better future for the next generation?
If we agree that we do have such an obligation, then our actions today will determine how well we live up to that unwritten agreement. Do we want our children as adults to have to choose between putting food on the table and paying for other necessities? Or do we want to equip them with the essential tools that will help them succeed as adults?
I strongly believe that education is the key to making the difference. In the world in which they will be competing, the skills they acquire both in and out of the classroom are critical. Every funding cut translates into lost opportunity for our students.
I believe the district and the school board has done a commendable job of doing more with less. I urge every citizen to learn the facts to make your own determination. Visit the district Web site at www.swcs.k12.oh.us. Contact a board member or a district administrator. Ask the tough questions. Then ask yourself - what kind of future do I want for our children?
Without its passage, the school buildings in South-Western City Schools will be closing soon after school is released. This will effect not only PTA meetings, but after school activities. These activities bring together school, family, home and community to the educational environment and provide a vehicle for parent involvement.
Without the passage of issue 15 there will be no extracurricular activities, eliminating the need of various parent booster groups - again parents are taken out of the school picture.
Issue 15 is not only for the children of South-Western City Schools. It is also for the families of the students. It is the link between the schools and community. Without the passage of issue 15 that link will be broken.
If you are a friend of the South-Western City Schools (SWCS) then you already know the district covers 127 square miles; includes 34 buildings; serves 21,000 students; employees 2,500 personnel; and operates a $1.8 million budget. We are one of the largest districts in the state and one of the largest employers in central Ohio.
If you are a friend of the SWCS then you already know the district's finances are an open book to the community, ran according to law and very stretched.
On building operations, we spend 18 percent of every dollar; the state average is 19.4 percent. On administration, we spend 11.3 percent; the state average is 12.3 percent. On pupil support, we spend 9.4 percent; the state average is 9.8 percent. On instruction, we spend 57.7 percent; the state average is 55.4 percent. On staff support, we spend 3.6 percent; the state average is 3.1 percent.
We are below state average in all these areas except instruction and staff support. These two areas include teachers, aides, materials, computers, books, staff trainings, and more. If you are a friend of SWCS then you already knew money is spent in the areas to best educate and prepare our children.
If you are a friend of the SWCS then you are prepared to vote for Issue 15 on May 5. Go a step forward, call and e-mail 10 friends to encourage them to do the same. We need all our friends to vote on May 5 so our kids can continue their path to a successful future.
They say they will do away with sports and band. They kidnap the kids to wait and see if they get the ransom money.
I say to all the homeowners, do the math. The district is asking for money every two and a half to three years. What would your property tax be in 20 years?
We have all seen what happens to institutions in this country that get too big. It is way past time large school districts redistrict to decrease size and increase manageability.
Vote "no" on all school levies.
Don't fall for it. If you are still undecided, find the actual facts for yourself and make and educated decision based on those facts and not scare tactics.
The naysayers say the district has to make cuts and must live within their budget. So, the district makes cuts and the naysayers say the district is resorting to threats and blackmail. Administrators and teachers voluntarily pass on salary increases, but the naysayers think their salaries should be cut more. The naysayers say the district keeps asking for money, but they seldom mention exactly when the last levy was actually passed. The district might ask for money, but they certainly don't always get it.
The naysayers say this district is deceptive and inefficient, but provide no concrete examples, facts, or figures to support that argument. The district provides budget numbers, levy history, and contact numbers for anyone with questions. The naysayers are quick to mention people on fixed incomes. With the Homestead exemption and the economic stimulus package, if they can't afford what the levy will cost them, they can't afford their house and failing the levy won't help their situation in the long run. The naysayers say the district is crying wolf. Well, the last time I read the story, it ended with a bunch of people not listening and the wolf running loose in the neighborhood. The naysayers seldom produce credible dates, numbers, or logical arguments. The district will never be able to convince the naysayers to change their position, but if you are still undecided about what you should do, go find your own facts.
Find out how much the levy will actually cost you. Find out how exemptions and the economic stimulus package will help offset that cost. Look at the long-term effects on your property and your community if the levy passes or fails. Compare the numbers for South-Western City Schools and other area school districts.
The event was a huge success due to all the community support we received. Our major sponsors were the Westgate Community Recreation Council (CRC), Hilltop Kiwanis and the Hilltop Lions Club. Additional sponsors were the Aids Awareness LLC, Brookshire Foodliner, Dominoes, Donatos, Extra Space Storage, Hilltop Business Association, Hometown Buffet, Jerry Spears Funeral Home, Joseppies (Murray Hill), McDonald's (W. Broad), Next Day Signs, Pepsi, Schoedinger Hilltop Chapel, Taco Bell (W. Broad), Tee Jays Country Place Restaurant, VFW- Post 4044, Wendy's (Sullivant Avenue) and corporate office, Westgate Neighbors Association, Western Lanes, Westway Paint and Body Shop and White Castle. Volunteers consisted of Boy Scout Troop 33at Parkview UM Church, Friends of Westgate Park, Kiwanis, Westgate CRC and other friends of the Recreation Center.
Thank you to all who helped this year!
Westgate Recreation Center staff
I do these activities because I enjoy them, and because these are the activities that will set me apart from other students on college applications. Through the band, I learn how to become a leader by first becoming a good follower. We practice teamwork, good social skills, responsibility and commitment. We don't rely solely on school funding. I've raised almost $1,000 this year for band fees.
Through AFJROTC we learn good leadership, as well as taking pride in the community. Our unit has over 2,500 hours of community service this year. We participate in highway clean-ups, organizing blood drives, cemetery clean-ups, and providing colorguards for various activities. We learn, through the drill team, how to work together as a team, how everyone can contribute something positive.
If our rec. center was closed, as well as the school, we would have no place to practice, and the discipline we gain would no longer exist.
Through the choir we learn team work, develop as singers, and work towards becoming leaders. Our drama department is amazing. It takes hours of practice, many personalities, and gives us many ways to stand out. Through these activities you gain friendships. I'm one of hundreds of kids who participate in these activities, and it would affect us all.
I know my college resume and that of the other graduates of South-Western City Schools will not be impressive without extracurricular activities. Please vote yes for Issue 15.