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Letters to the editor - updated March 5
Whining about mean spirited politics
Not until I was in grade school was I really aware of politics. When Wendall Willkie ran against Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1940 I experienced how rough and tumble politics can get.
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.
Dale E. Lauffer
So much history we can learn about Franklinton
Lucas Sullivant raised the first African-American boy, Arthur Boke, to be born in Franklinton. The birth happened at the Sullivant Mansion on West Broad Street. Arthur’s mother was a slave brought from Kentucky.
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
Issue 8 meets an immediate need, seizes an opportunity, solves a long-term problem, and would do all these things with very little pain for taxpayers.
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.
Ken Stammen, Jr.
Issue 8 is a load of bull
All you hear is what a great opportunity Issue 8 would be, while no extra cost. What a line of bull! My taxes should be going down, not staying the same. Have we forgotten the trickery on the last levy passed?
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.
Extreme Makeover: School Edition
I recently watched an archived episode of ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.’ For those not familiar with the program, a group of individuals come together with a community to “make over” a home for a family. I was struck by a couple of aspects of the show. The first item was the way in which the community came together to help build a better future for a family. The second item was the degree to which the existing home limited the quality of life for the entire family.
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.
Dr. Bill Wise, Superintendent
South-Western City School District
The Ohio School Boards Association endorses Issue 8
The Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) strongly encourages residents of the South-Western City School District (SWCS) to vote in favor of 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.
Rob Delane, deputy executive director
Ohio School Boards Association
Issue 8 is what we've been waiting for
As an active community member and parent, I hope my fellow community members realize the windfall that has been laid into our laps. The state is offering us an opportunity at $120 million to replace several of our aging and antiquated schools. Most people don’t realize the conditions being tolerated in these old buildings. Making repairs to these buildings is just a Band-Aid, and now, by passing Issue 8, we can make all those bigger maintenance issues go away.
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.
|On February 23, 2012 Michael said:
Bobbie, Taxes will NOT increase with Issue 8, because there is bond millage of an equal amount that will be expiring. This is not an opinion but a fact cited by The Messenger and many, many other news sources. Please make sure before you vote that you take the time to read and research the facts about Issue 8. We, as voters, should all know from experience that just reading ballot language does not mean we are informed about an issue or a condidate.
Michelle, According to every TV and newspaper, the recent situation at Westland High had nothing to do with any of the school's mechanical systems. "Air-quality tests from two outside firms and the fire department showed below or no levels of carbon monoxide, chlorine, carbon dioxide and combustible gases...They even looked for trace amounts of paint thinner, adhesives and nail polish remover. They performed tests on all the mechanical systems in the building, but tests turned up nothing suspicious or dangerous.
|On February 21, 2012 Bobbie said:
Before anyone votes for Issue 8 I would highly suggest that they read the actual ballot language of the Issue because it plainly states that property taxes could very well go up again.
"and an annual levy of property
taxes be made outside the ten mill limitation, estimated by
the county auditor to average over the repayment period of
the bond issue 2.9 mills for each one dollar of tax valuation,
which amounts to $0.29 for each one hundred dollars of tax
valuation, commencing in 2012, fi rst due in calendar year
2013, to pay the annual debt charges on the bonds, and to
pay debt charges on any notes issued in anticipation of those bonds?"
You can find the actual ballot language of the issue on the school district website.
|On February 20, 2012 Michelle said:
With regard to Suzi Smith-Rios' Letter to the Editor:
As a parent of two children who currently attend school in the SWCS district, I do realize the "windfall that has been laid into our laps." I just hope the District honestly and adequately uses the money where it is desperately needed. For example, with all of the recent news about the deplorable ventilation system in Westland High School, making it unsafe for our children to attend school for nearly a week, is telling in itself. As Suzi Smith-Rios said, Don't just put a "band-aid" over Westland High School... REPLACE IT! SWCS needs to list the exact schools that will be getting replaced and renovated, instead of just saying that 13 elementary schools will be replaced, 2 elementary schools will be renovated and there's only a intention for 1 high school (Franklin Heights) to be replaced.
I can recall when SWCS used the split-session force tactic on the district voters to get a levy passed some years ago. With the passage of that levy, the students were to be moved out of the portables they were currently forced to use at several of the elementary and middle schools (Prarie Lincoln and Norton Middle, to name a few). That did NOT happen. The funds all went to the improvement and building of schools within the Grove City area.
I am all for the passage of Issue 8, but ONLY if SWCS can be held accountable for the promised improvements. Specification of the individual schools that will benefit from this needs to be made public. We have the right to know exactly where the funds will be allocated!
Grove City, OH
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