The future of the South-Western City Schools and its 21,000 students is in the hands of voters. On May 5, voters will decide if SWCS, Ohio’s sixth-largest district, will continue to make strides in educating our children and preparing them for college, careers, and their futures - or if another $6.3 million in cuts should be implemented.
By casting a ballot for Issue 15, an 8.3-mill, 4-year operating levy, SWCS voters will decide if they want to eliminate athletic programs, drama productions, student council, district-provided tutoring, marching band, foreign language clubs, choir concerts, and all other extra-curricular activities and clubs. Voters will decide if school buildings and recreation centers will close their doors at the end of each school day – eliminating (among other things) latchkey, recreational sports programs, PTA meetings, and school dances. Voters will decide if the Harrisburg Elementary and Kingston schools will be shut down and if quality teachers and staff members are let go. Voters will decide if busing for the district’s four high schools will be eliminated, leaving thousands of students to find their own transportation to and from school.
SWCS has stretched its operating dollars to the bare bones, already spending less per pupil than neighboring Hilliard and Columbus City Schools districts. In fact, SWCS ranks 14 out of 17 districts in Franklin County in terms of per pupil expenditures. SWCS has cut $16 million from the annual operating budget in the last several years – cuts that have not been reinstated.
Issue 15 will not bring back any previous cuts, but it will help stop the bleeding
A vote FOR Issue 15 says that we do value education, want our children to succeed, and are willing – even in these tough times – to do what it takes to make that happen.
Remember this at the polls
During the last several weeks, there has been information released about what the city of Columbus and the state of Ohio are doing to reduce payroll costs. Freezing wages and additional layoffs have been mentioned.
It has also been stated that unemployment in Ohio could reach 8.9 percent.
Now I read that the South-Western City School District is proposing another operating levy. Since the largest portion of school operations is salaries and benefits, why are they not looking at the wage issue like all other public entities.
They are asking those unemployed, along with the seniors with reduced income and many who will have their wages frozen, to pay for wages for their group. And they are closing their board meeting from an open forum to a reservation format to speak.
Remember this at the polls.
Thanks from Head Start
What makes a happy Christmas? Shopping for the perfect gift? Being with family and friends? Enjoying lovely decorations? Watching a child’s face light up when he/she sees the gifts under the tree?
It’s not just any one of these. No, it is all of these and so much more.
This year we sought community support as we tried a new way to obtain and distribute holiday assistance. We submitted a wish list to potential donors, and asked for items so that families could actually shop for toys best suited to their child’s age and interests. We also asked for wrapping supplies so that parents could then wrap their gifts and individualize them to each child.
Because of the kindness of our community, we were able to help over 280 children of 100 more than families. Donations came from all over – area churches, businesses, libraries, private citizens, and anonymous donors.
Needless to say, I am more than humbled by the generous outpouring of support. As a community, you have given so much to our families – not just material things, but a sense of self-esteem and pride, both of which are so often missing in a parent’s life. Our families were overwhelmed with appreciation and emotion. I find that mere words are absolutely insufficient to express our deep and sincere gratitude.
Lynda Rohr Howard
SWCS, Head Start
Another levy is no surprise
Surprise, South-Western City Schools is back on the ballot with an operating levy. Actually, that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. If they don’t pass the November levy, the place another one right before school lets out.
I have been paying for schools for over 40 years. My question is, how can the district justify asking people over and over again for additional funds? Everyone knows unemployment is at an all time high.
We the people on fixed incomes, or even working, are barely making it. We have to make cuts or make due with what we have or go without. For a change, the district should put themselves in our place and learn to go without or budget.
It seems every year they whine for more money when the last levy was supposed to make things great. What happened?
I am just tired of working my whole life to keep handing my money away to incompetent people.
A "no" only hurts the kids
We would like to respond to the many letters that have appeared in the paper concerning school funding and the upcoming levy for South-Western City Schools.
The way we fund all schools in Ohio is unconstitutional and we agree that school funding should be changed. If you would like to see funding changed, contact the lawmakers in our state. Failing school levies over and over will not help make this change. Please do not make the mistake of saying “no” to each new kindergarten class, “no” to our intermediate school band and orchestra members, “no” to our middle school athletes, and “no” to the high school classes of 2009 and beyond.
A “no” vote for the kids of the district only hurts them and will not change school funding. Many of the letter say people are tired of the schools system always asking for money. Under the current system, school systems must have a balanced budget in order to operate. Funding our schools through property tax is not the choice of SWCS – it’s the only option.
The naysayers compare our schools to businesses in the private sector. They say that the schools should make cuts and sacrifices just like other businesses in these tough economic times. First, with each failed levy, our schools have made cuts and other sacrifices that only hurt our students. Second, I believe you cannot compare a school system to a business. Schools do not exist to make money. They exist to make leaders out of children.
Finally, I understand that, for example, the airlines are making cuts because less people are flying; restaurants make layoffs because less people are eating out, etc. Our schools are not serving fewer kids. SWCS continues to grow. Just demanding more cuts will not help make our schools great places to learn and grow.
The majority of the money that goes to our almost 40 schools is designated for salaries. I have heard some people say that teachers should take pay cuts to help in the school funding crisis. Like many teachers, I spend a portion of my salary each year to buy extra things for my students to help them be successful. Educators work with kids to make a difference, not to make money.
Whether you agree or not, I encourage everyone in the district to get registered to vote, homeowner or not, and make their vote count on May 5.