Letters to the editor

Students need a high quality education
I am writing in support of Issue 81, South-Western City Schools’ $261 million bond issue and combined 6-mill operating levy on the November ballot.
This levy, combined with nearly $206 million from the state of Ohio, will address the district’s urgent facility needs and avoid deep cuts to education programs. Passage of this levy will allow the district to provide quality school buildings for every child; improve safety and security; upgrade technology; provide space for all-day, everyday kindergarten; and eliminate the need to use trailers for classrooms.
For just $25 a month for the owner of a $100,000 home, every student in the district will attend a new or like-new remodeled school. This levy is a chance of a lifetime investment in your schools and community to help build our children’s tomorrow.
I urge residents of the South-Western City School District to support high quality schools and vote for Issue 81.

Richard Lewis
Ohio School Boards Association

Time to pay it forward
Within the walls of a grades one through 12 school building, I received a sound primary and secondary education. This was in spite of lingering hard times of the 40s and 50s, a result of the Great Depression.
As I reminisce and attempt to comprehend the economic devastation caused the by Depression, it would seem safe to assume that many sacrifices were made to provide children education. After the very basic food and shelter needs were met, no doubt providing an opportunity for a sound education was a priority.
Sacrifices made for me in the 40s and 50s made it possible for me to meet my social obligations, including being an active supporter of schools.
Nov. 4 provides me another opportunity to pay tribute to those who helped me in a critical stage of my life, that of acquiring an education. Adequate quality and quantity of space and well qualified teachers and administrators mean better opportunities for today’s and tomorrow’s youth.
I’m a senior citizen voting for the present and future students of South-Western City Schools.
I’m voting yes on Issue 81 to bring $206 million of state budgeted funds to our school district. It is a chance of a lifetime. Will you join me in supporting our community, especially the leaders of tomorrow?

Mark List
Grove City

Nothing adds up in SWCS

I bought a condominium in Grove City four years ago and pay almost $2,600 per year in property taxes. On top of that, I pay $170 per month in condo fees to cover many things that other homeowners get with their property taxes. I am essentially paying double tax.
The value of my property has dropped $15,000 (based on comparable sales in my community), but my taxes are locked in for another three years. I cannot fight the assessment.
Now, South-Western City Schools tell me they have a deal I shouldn’t pass up – to raise my taxes another $50 per month.
I want to know why it costs twice as much per square foot to build a school than a luxury hotel? Why does it cost more to maintain schools than hotels? Why are district employees driving around on work time doing private business in district vehicles? Why do the school buses park along the side of the road, with engines running, for as long as 40 minutes?
I want to know why no one dares audit where certain maintenance equipment and supplies go? Why do so many cronies seem to get on the payroll and do little, if anything, to earn their keep?
If the state has $200 million to give us, let them give it to us. It’s our money. We could easily solve our building problems with that and still have money left over. It’s our money.
With all the new building and development, we ought to be taking in plenty of money to educate our children. If not, then it’s time to stop issuing building permits.
Nothing adds up at SWCS, but there seems to be a well funded machine to promote their latest campaign of greed.

Richard Manuel
Grove City

Enough is enough
Enough with this being the burden of the property owners. It’s time for a fair tax across the boards. Tax every resident in the school district at a much lower rate and you will still gain the operating monies you say you need.
I have family that has lived in the same townhome for eight years now. They have a child in the school district, and they have voted for the levies because it has never affected them or raised their rent. Therefore, they do not care about the fixed income home owners. It’s time to make everyone join in and pay their fair share. 
Let us not be fooled again about this levy increasing our property values. I received an audit from my home owners policy last week and was informed that I will be saving a few dollars because the value of my home has decreased dramatically. As property owners, we need to continually stand up and be accounted for.  Enough is enough.
Ken Moore

Don’t let this chance slip away
As the mother of three children in the South-Western City School District, I would like to ask that all of my neighbors give very careful consideration to what Issue 81 would mean for children of this district and vote "yes" on Nov. 4. 
This is a chance of a lifetime for our students, and it is likely that we will not have another opportunity for the state to assist our district with nearly half of costs to build and renovate our schools. Many of our schools are not as safe as they could be, are not accessible to some students, and are very costly to maintain.
 A "yes" vote will benefit not only our children, but also generations of children to come. I realize that we are in uncertain financial times, but the cost to the owner of a $100,000 home is about $25 per month, or only $6.25 per week.
Please step up to the plate for our students and vote "yes." It really is a chance to build our children’s tomorrow, with facilities that are safe, accessible, and much cheaper to maintain. We cannot afford to let this chance slip away.
Julia O’Brien
Grove City

Is there any concern for the taxpayer?

If I understand the situation correctly, the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled taxing property owners to support schools unconstitutional.
If so, then why is the state continuing to perpetuate that which has been deemed unconstitutional by coercing/blackmailing their citizens to match their funds or SWCS will not be given this "chance of a lifetime." Why isn’t the state taking the first step to reform this unconstitutional act, with no strings attached, by returning to the district that which taxpayers have already given? Why does this have to be now? Can the state withdraw their offer in light of the current economic circumstances and propose at some point after the economy has recovered? Where did the state get all this money they want to give to SWCS? Did it come from tax payers?
So let’s see, I give the state money to support schools, which maybe they are not doing properly because they have all this extra money they just want to give back, I pay SWCS directly through my property taxes, which by the way is more than half the annual amount, I checked, and now you want me to pay even more!
Taxpayers are paying for levy upon levy and the additional $25 is only if your house is assessed at a value of $100,000. My property is assessed at a much higher value so my contribution will be much higher. If this levy should pass, who is going to oversee the district and make sure they are not building glass towers, and other such types of wasteful expenditures, that have absolutely nothing to do with education and everything to do with wasting my money? These are some of the questions I have, which I don’t believe have been answered by the state or the district.
Also, on a side note, I think the mayor and city council should remain forever neutral regarding this issue, especially knowing how this particular issue divides this community. It is one thing to vote for or against the levy as a private citizen, but for the governing body of this community to publicly support this levy makes me wonder why I would ever vote for someone who does not have concern for the community and its citizens as a whole.
There seems to be absolutely no concern expressed by either the district or the current administration for citizens who are struggling financially and would find this increase extremely detrimental to their livelihood.

Diana Pulsinelli
Grove City

Issue 81 would improve quality of education
As an educator, I want to see Issue 81 pass to provide equitable facilities and opportunities for all students in the district and to allow our district to make even greater strides. But as the safety project director for South-Western City Schools, to be able to improve the safety and security for all of our students, staff members, and visitors, Issue 81 is too important an opportunity to let fail.
If Issue 81 passes, the youngest of my three children will have graduated from SWCS and will not be around to benefit from any of the improvements. But I cannot pass on this "Chance of a Lifetime" because of what it will do for our community, with nearly $206 billion coming from the state of Ohio’s tobacco settlement. Over $400 million will be infused into our local economy. Job opportunities will be created and area business will likely see in increase in customers and sales.
Please join me in voting for Issue 81.  It’s an opportunity we cannot afford to pass up!

Gary L. Sigrist, Jr.
Grove City

Still undecided about the issue
Here we go again, I usually vote for school issues, but I haven’t come to a decision yet on this one. 
I would like to know how much money the South-Western City School District gets from the lottery money and what do they spend it on? I thought the lottery was supposed to help the schools.
Why not have a payroll school income tax instead, like some other cities do? That way everyone would be taking a part in supporting our schools instead of the property owners.
Didn’t the Ohio State Supreme Court rule that the way we fund our schools is unconstitutional?

Sharon Steelman
Grove City

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