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Letters to the editor
A ducky ending
I wanted to share a good news story.
As our family was returning from our evening walk, we saw some neighbors standing in the road. They said three baby ducks had fallen in the drainage hole in the curb. I called the Prairie Township Fire Department to see what they could do. They said they would come out.
Four firefighters came and immediately started assessing the situation. A neighbor had a long fishing net the firefighters used to rescue the ducks. They got all three baby ducks out and reunited with their mom.
The firefighters spent 30 minutes trying to get the ducks in the net. One firefighter laid down on the road and had his whole upper body down the hole. They did such a wonderful thing!
All the neighborhood kids were so happy to see a good outcome. A big thanks needs to go out to these firemen for job well done. Especially in this economy!
We are the levy
You probably don't know me, but I guarantee that you know someone similar to me, someone who will be greatly affected by the upcoming 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.
Consider their future
As we consider the upcoming SWCS district levy, many members of the community are concerned about the timing of this request. I don't think anyone would argue that it is a difficult time to ask people to look beyond today's economic challenges and to be optimistic about a brighter future.
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?
Issue 15 links parents to students
I am writing to urge the citizens of the SWCS district to vote yes on issue 15. Without the passage of Issue 15, parent involvement as we know it will cease to exist.
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.
Don't fall for scare tactics
The South-Western City School District will never satisfy some people. Educating kids costs money, but every time they go to their main source of income, the naysayers start crying foul.
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.
Westgate Easter Egg Hunt thank you
The staff at Westgate Recreation Center, 455 S. Westgate Avenue, wishes to thank all the volunteers and sponsors of this year's Easter Egg Hunt.
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
Give us a chance to stand out
I am a freshman at Westland High School. I'm an "A" student and a class officer. I participate in many extracurricular activities. I'm a member of marching band, the AFJROTC program, the choir and drama.
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.
Schools are so much more
I certainly hope the communities of South-Western City Schools will support the May 5 levy. Keep in mind the board of education is mandated to operate on a balanced budget. They will be forced to eliminate athletics, clubs, and activities in our schools if we do not pass Issue 15. Their singular task is to provide an academic education to the children of our district. We all know that schools are much more than that.
Let me share a few observations of my favorite high schools as a lifetime educator in SWCS:
•Grove City Greyhounds - A rich heritage and a proud tradition like no other!
•Central Crossing - The Comets have come together to create a rising star in the OCC Galaxy.
•Franklin Heights Falcons - Always an underdog. Always a champion!
•At Westland, diversity is more than a politician's slogan. Westland Cougars live diversity - and it works! Yellow, brown, black and white, all come together on a Friday night! Who knew back in 1971 when a student composed the Cougar Fight Song that it could someday be sung in seven languages?
If these wonderful beacons of our communities, and their feeder schools, are shut down from their activities it will be devastating.
At the dismissal bell the halls will grow silent. The only sound will be the echoes of the evening custodian as he makes his rounds.
The real world
Before you go to the polls on May 5 and make your final decision about Issue 15, I want you to know about all the great things our kids do for our community.
For the years I've been involved with the South-Western City Schools I have seen children learn about the importance of charity and giving. They have raised tens of thousands of dollars through Jump Rope for Heart for the American Heart Association and have raised money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation supporting those with cancer. They have addressed global concerns with fundraisers for Katrina and for the tsunami victims in Southeast Asia.
They also have been the driving force behind fundraisers to give to families in our own community who have found themselves in dire need due to a fire in their home, for a child found to have cancer, or those who simply need a holiday meal. They also give of their time. Through membership in key club, their main mission is to do for others and help the community, while those in the
National Honor Society must have participated in volunteer activities to even be considered for membership. They also do their own fundraising for activities such a prom, trips to Washington D.C., athletics, and more.
If this levy fails, most of these fundraising and giving enterprises will be lost; the schools will be closed to all after school activities. Our children are in need. Don't let down the kids in our community.
We can't raise enough money through car washes, bake sales, bazaars and catalogue sales to support the education of our students. Schools are not designed to make money, they are designed to educate children and that simply costs money. SWCS on average spends $600 less a year per student than the state average per pupil expenditure. Even if this levy passes, the district will make further cuts. They are cutting into what little fat is left in the district-don't make them cut into the bone-our district will not recover.
The real world is, we were afforded the opportunity of a free education and we were given the option to participate in sports, student council, prom, dances, and much more. It's time to pay forward not give up on the kids in our community.
The real world is, if we don't pass this levy, all extra curricular activities will be gone, and families will move out of the district to give their children the opportunities given to children everywhere else within this county. The children who are left, will find they are not being monitored, will become bored, and based upon history, will be prone to behave in less than productive ways.
Families will not want to move in, houses will not sell, houses will sit vacant and property values will drop. Likely the loss in property value will be greater than the tax increase that is being requested. Even if you are motivated by finances voting for the levy is the wise option.
Protect property values
I received a flyer on my door last week asking me to vote for Issue 15, the South-Western City Schools levy.
They listed several reasons to vote for the levy, but, as the owner of a fine new home in the district, one reason popped out at me - "Strong neighborhoods and stable property values depend on a quality school district."
We are in the midst of the worst economic downturn since WW II. I've been an investor for most of my adult life. I started investing when I was 8-years-old and had my first paper route in 1952. I've always been taught that the first and most important investment a person should make is in their home. So I've been a homeowner in the South-Western district since 1970 with my newest home built in 1990.
And now that investment in my home is in jeopardy. It is bad enough that the stock market has gone through the floor, and I can only get 2.5 percent on my CD's. Now, by letting the school district fail through lack of funding, my last secure investment is about to be destroyed.
I would urge the property owners in the South-Western district to think the passage of this levy through very carefully. If this levy fails, your investment in your home will fail with it. Property values have already fallen to the point where many of us owe more that what our property is worth. Losing our schools is going to further depress the real estate market and make it increasingly difficult to recoup the money we have poured into our homes for many long years.
Please protect your and my investment in our homes. Vote for Issue 15.
Everyone is hurting
Are you kidding?
More threats for the school children and their activities. I understand the need for more money for South-Western schools. Everyone would like to have more, but we learn to live within a budget. Too bad the schools can't do the same.
Have they really looked at every possibility to cut costs? Do they need a principal for each grade level? Do teachers need to keep radios, etc. on 24/7 or until someone turns them off for them? Do they need to keep windows open in the middle of winter? What about a pay to play policy? This would target the families who participate in school activities instead of making everyone pay.
My daugher faces lay offs every six months and has not had a pay increase in five years. I do not get a pay increase since I am retired. Who is going to take care of our financial obligations if we cannot afford to?
People like to live in the South-Western school district, but if people cannot afford the taxes they will go elsewhere. I have supported the school levy in the past, but cannot afford to now. I am not convinced that everything has been tried to compensate the shortcomings. Have they looked at all areas that can be scaled back, including salaries? Everyone is hurting.
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