Letters to the editor

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ADAMH endorses MRDD levy

As chair of the board of trustees for ADAMH, the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County, I encourage everyone to vote for Issue 29, the Franklin County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (MRDD) replacement levy, on the March 4 ballot.

ADAMH is committed to supporting the Franklin County Board of MRDD, our sister agency, and my fellow board members and I have officially endorsed Issue 29 by passing a resolution at our January meeting.

Issue 29 is the Franklin County Board of MRDD’s 3.5 mill replacement levy that allows for the continuation of basic services provided to children and adults of all ages who have mental retardation or other developmental disabilities, many who need lifelong services on a daily basis.

The Franklin County Board of MRDD has a history of providing quality programming and serves more than 13,000 children and adults each year, through programs provided throughout our community, including early childhood education; schools for children who have multiple handicaps; employment and job training; supported living and service coordination services for individuals and their families; and services for senior citizens who have mental retardation or other developmental disabilities.

The number of individuals receiving services through the Franklin County Board of MRDD continues to increase at a rate of three to five percent per year due to growth in our community, changes in eligibility standards, improved medical technology and increased awareness. Passage of Issue 29 will help the board of MRDD provide vital services and programs for the increasing number of children and adults in our community seeking care for mental retardation and other developmental disabilities.

The Franklin County Board of MRDD and ADAMH work together to help children and families in Franklin County. I urge all Franklin residents to vote for Issue 29 on March 4.   

 
Thomas J. Bonasera, chair
Board of Trustees
ADAMH of Franklin County

Teachers support Pickerington school levy

Being a teacher is one of the most rewarding careers we can think of. It allows us to lead children down paths that will mold and shape their futures. What makes our story unique, we feel, is the path we took to get here.

To highlight, we are first and foremost graduates of Pickerington Local Schools.  We took the same classes and in some instances were taught by the same teachers that instruct today.

Looking beyond high school and toward college, each of us knew that we wanted to be teachers. We recognized that Pickerington was a great district in which to learn and teach. Today, we are fortunate to be able to give back to the community in which we were raised by teaching Pickerington’s youth.

Because we believe in this school system, we also believe in and support the things that make it strong, and that includes the funding requests that go before the voters.

Issue 9 is a zero new taxes renewal levy.  It currently generates $7.15 million in revenue. This money goes directly toward instructional needs – needs that exist in every classroom in the district.

Passage of Issue 9 would allow us to continue the excellence we are used to providing students. If Issue 9 fails, Pickerington schools must prepare for a $3.5 million shortfall for the 2008-09 school year budget. This preparation may include cuts that will directly impact the effectiveness of how we teach.

Passage of this levy is vital to the ongoing success of both the schools and this community.

Please support Pickerington students by voting for Issue 9 on March 4!

Jennifer Rogers, Carrie Weber
Shannon Dormer, Whitney Risch
Teachers at Violet Elementary

Family backs Pickerington school levy

As parents of two students in the Pickerington Local School District, we are writing in support of Issue 9.

We moved to Pickerington four years ago. We chose this community for one primary reason – and that was the quality of the schools. With two children enrolled in Pickerington schools, we can unequivocally say that our decision has more than paid off. Our children are receiving a top-notch education in a public school system that exceeds our expectations.

One of our children is a seventh grade student. To say that he loves school is an understatement. Already looking ahead to next year, our son is frustrated that time will not permit him to take all of the classes and get involved in all of the extracurricular activities that he wants.

Case in point…our son is a member of the newly formed Junior Ohio Model United Nations (OMUN) team. This is the first year for this program to exist within the Pickerington schools. At the recent statewide competition, the Lakeview Junior High team excelled. It was runner-up in the talent competition, and its resolution placed in the top 30 of 113 resolutions submitted.

While we are admittedly thrilled with the accomplishments of the OMUN team, we are even more grateful for the quality education that both of our children experience. We know all too well what a great thing we have in the form of these schools.

But we also understand what will happen to extracurricular experiences such as this if the money is not available.

If Issue 9 fails and the district loses $7.15 million per year, experiences such as the Junior Ohio Model United Nations will cease to exist.

Issue 9 is a zero new taxes renewal levy.  This means our property taxes will not increase.

This makes sense to us. And we hope it makes sense to you.  Please join us in voting for Issue 9 on March 4.The kids are counting on us.

Steven and Caryn Maggio
Pickerington

Levy vital for Pickerington

I want to thank the members of our community for supporting our schools in the past. I have been a teacher and counselor in Pickerington for 18 years and a taxpayer for 26 years. My daughter has come through the school system and has enjoyed the benefits of a first rate education.

Professionally, I speak with countless new parents who relocate to Pickerington because of the excellent school system. Our population continues to grow because of our reputation. As a result, we continue to be challenged by doing more for our kids with the resources and time we are allocated.

The expertise, dedication and hard work of my colleagues  maximizes the money we have. If we do not renew Issue 9, we will have to cut programs critical to our children’s education. Their learning and positive classroom experience will be negatively impacted.

Renewing this levy will not cost us any new taxes. The cost to our children and ultimately our property values, however, is exponential.

Cathy McKenzie
Pickerington

Do better with what you have CW schools

Every month at their regularly scheduled meetings, the Canal Winchester Board of Education has the opportunity to review the financial spreadsheet provided to them by the clerk-treasurer.  

For the past two or more years, this report indicated that, unless the board adopted fiscal restraint or provided additional operating funds, the district would, by 2008, be conducting business in the red, which by state law, is not allowable. Neither option materialized!

So next March, this fiscal irresponsible board of education (encumbering monies for salary increases they knew was not going to be available unless a levy was passed), is asking the already over taxed property owners to once again bail them out.  

Perhaps it is time for the citizens of this school district to say to our school officials and staff, exactly what the Dublin school board told their school officials, "Do better with what you have!"  After all, for years we senior citizens living on fixed incomes, have been doing just that.

R. L. Wiessinger
Canal Winchester

No more tunnel vision

I wanted to respond to a clarification published in the Southeast Messenger on Feb. 16.

First, I did state that Pickerington schools were spending over $100,000 per year in pool rental and transportation costs for the four high school swim teams. At 65 my memory is good most of the time. However, apparently my memory failed me this time when I referred to a school board document that was written a couple of years ago. I no longer have that document, but the amount the school district spends on our swim teams is only part of the justification the city should use for providing a year round swimming pool.

A school board member has corrected me at every turn and still fails to understand the impact of not having a local indoor pool has on our young swimmers and their parents. My comments were not meant to be critical of the school board or the coach who authored the document that I had read two years ago.

What I was trying to point out is the need for a local year round swimming facility and the real possibility that our young athletes and their parents could save six or seven hours each week in drive times and those times could be spent on studies and other family activities.

What the school board doesn’t tell us is that the boosters pay part of the bus transportation costs and the parents must provide the a.m. transportation which is twice a week. So the fact that the school board has pushed the expenses of a swim team off onto the parents and the booster clubs doesn’t change the fact that a local year round swimming facility will have more than enough users to support its operation in the future.

Once we have an indoor swimming facility then that opens up other uses that most in the community could benefit from. Including the high school swim teams we could see adult swim teams and youth teams and seniors like myself that can’t find room in the local pools in the summer months. Maybe we can keep some of those state level athletes here in Pickerington instead of sending them to other districts to complete against our swimmers.

 

Maybe our school board needs to go to the eye doctor so they can be cured of the current tunnel vision they seem to be suffering.

Ted Hackworth
Pickerington

Support CW schools

Approximately three years ago Canal Winchester residents voted and approved a bond issue for the construction of a middle school. Building costs were financed by bonds which did not increase property owners’ property taxes. A portion of the building costs will be reimbursed to the school district because specifications by the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission were met by the district. Does anyone believe our communities’ students should be learning in modular units that are unsafe in the event of fire, natural disaster, or security risk?

The school levy is mandated by law to ensure that districts have sufficient income prior to expense disbursements. Like private citizens, the school system is facing increased operating costs due to inflation. The school board is responsible for future financial planning and is not funding previous operational expenses. The board is providing strong leadership for sound financial budgeting in order to provide our students a quality academic and extracurricular education.

Increased taxes are not welcomed by anyone, individuals or governing boards, but when necessary should be supported by the benefiting community. Periodic school income taxes are required. Personal income earnings generally increase annually.

Canal Winchester residents have an opportunity to support an excellent school system at an average cost of about a dollar a day. Please give the levy issue your positive consideration and  vote for the best educational experience and environment for Canal Winchester students.

Sally McGinty
Canal Winchester

Let’s decide on real qualifications

I’m sure Dave Phalen is a very devout Christian as his wife and other church members tell us over and over again.

My question is, what does that have to do with being an effective county sheriff?  

It is my understanding that we have a division of church and state in this country.  One’s religion or lack thereof should have nothing to do with being elected to public office. But when a person’s religion is held up as a qualification for an office, I do become alarmed.

Let’s decide this election on real qualifications.


Rosemary K. Crum
Pickerington

Vote "yes" for CW schools

I hope people who live in the Canal Winchester School District realize that having a good school system is essential for having a good community.  

No one likes to have their property taxes raised, including school board members, but what choice do we have if schools are not supported?  

Voters in the Canal Winchester Schools have approved 53 mills over the years, but the school board is only receiving 23 mills because when the district’s property values increase with more businesses and people in the district, everyone’s taxes are reduced. The school board is limited in how much money they collect beyond the first 10 mills. The costs keep going up but the limited revenue from taxes and from the state make it probable that every three or four years school districts are forced to ask their publics for more operating funds.

I work with students from various school districts in Franklin County who do not want to go to school. There are a relatively few students in the Canal Winchester Schools who have truancy issues. The main reason is because Canal Winchester has an abundance of quality teachers and other personnel who care about them and help provide incentives for students to want to learn. Students need reasons to attend other than it is the state law, and knowing if they don’t go to school they will go to court, and the magistrates will force them to go.

 

I have found in my many years as an educator that students who are involved in activities do better in school and are rarely or ever attendance problems. Good schools provide many different activities for students. Very seldom do you see a student who participates in band, choir, athletics, drama, FFA, Madrigals, or any other school activity drop out of school.  These activities help develop the discipline, poise, and toughness that it takes to do well in our society.

According to the National Center for School Engagement, it costs our government $800,000 per student more for a drop out than a student who graduates from high school in his/her lifetime of social services support. Good schools have fewer dropouts because they give students the attention they need to be successful. We need to be able to help students be successful in their lives. Please support the community and our schools by voting yes on March 4.  

John Bender
Canal Winchester

Treasure CW schools

I write to affirm my support of the upcoming Canal Winchester school levy that will help our schools provide the best education for our children. As a long-time resident of Canal Winchester and a graduate of Canal Winchester High School, there are many things I treasure about our schools.

I treasure the teachers in our schools who day in and day out work to offer their best for the education of our children. I treasure having a school board made up of people willing to give of their time and energy to make what are often difficult decisions to achieve the greatest good for our children. I treasure the fact that I can contact our school administration and learn exactly how our money is spent so I can better understand the details of our school budget.

I treasure the fact that having a strong school system has made our community stronger. Most importantly, I treasure the fact that by supporting the upcoming levy, I can do my part to continue our community’s legacy of strong schools which work to develop our children into strong and capable adults. These children will soon take their place as full partners in our community’s life.

It is for this reason that I have come to see support of the upcoming school levy as not simply an opportunity to support my own children’s education, but also an opportunity to support the strengthening of our entire community. I urge others to join with me in this significant endeavor.

Mike Caswell

Canal Winchester

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