School district and state could do better jobs
For 12 years, our state leaders have virtually ignored the Ohio Supreme Court, which declared using property as a basis for school funding was unconstitutional and thereby illegal.
I live in North Jackson, and our school district is classified as a rich district. We have had a dramatic decline in student enrollment, mainly because our school has been performing academically low on the proficiency tests. Hundreds are now paying tuition to other systems plus their local taxes.
Our community has had a long history of school support. We currently pay 52 mills. And while our district has made changes, the progress is minimal at best.
Many residents feel consolidation would be a good solution as we are surrounded by excellent academic systems that have lower tax rates. I do not accept this nor do I accept the idea that the cosmetics of a new school will be the sole basis for good academic performance.
A levy for 10.2 mills is on Tuesday's ballot for 69 percent local funding, 31 percent state funding for 27 years. This is placing a burden on taxpayers that no small community can endure.
Correcting our academic woes and the state's changing the uniform school funding policy would make new school construction a reality.
OLIN E. HARKLEROAD
School district has worked hard to earn voter trust
Two years ago, I came to the Jackson-Milton Local Schools with optimism and hope that I could help the district reach its promise as a great school district. The community, staff and students are decent, hard-working, proud people.
Cooperatively, we have made significant changes to our system in a short time: Purchasing new textbooks, upgrading computers and networks, supporting new approaches to teaching and learning; intervention programs, summer school and volunteer tutors are assisting students who need extra help to meet academic goals.
Grants have been awarded and implemented, staff and community relations are being rebuilt, The Baldrige Quality Model for school improvement has helped refine our Continuous Improvement Planning procedures, and many other activities are under way. The board of education and staff have "stepped up to the plate" and embraced changes for improvement.
Now it is the community's "turn at bat." Tuesday's election is an opportunity to continue the positive momentum in our schools. Our children spend over seven hours a day in classrooms that are too small and unsafe in the elementary school. The high school is dull, depressing and inadequate for today's education. Both environments negatively impact student learning. The state report card is clear evidence that learning has reached a plateau.
The community says it wants a great school district and what's best for our kids. For more than 18 months I have attempted to engage this community in resolving this problem. Sadly, a core group of only 20 people has been willing to work, some tirelessly, on this campaign. I sincerely thank every one of them for their efforts,
I hope that there is a silent majority of people on the sidelines who will step up and demonstrate that they value education and that they understand education is a sacred right that allows children of any socio-economic background to reach their potential and live their dreams.
The spirit of the Jackson-Milton Local Schools and our community is great. Our commitment to the team is strong. My fingers are crossed that voters do the right thing and "hit a home run" Tuesday.
X The writer is superintendent of Jackson-Milton Local Schools.
Boardman Park is the place for a happy heart
I love Boardman Park, Kidstown and all the special places and events in the park. For the past years, our duplicate bridge unit held its tournament at the community center. Players from the Cleveland, Akron, Canton and Pittsburgh areas came and would tell me time and time again how great and pleasant it is to be in the park. Can you imagine how much greater it will be with a real community center?
All Boardman residents will have the opportunity to enjoy the center plus have the opportunity to offer the new activities to their guests, instead of saying, "There's nothing to do here and nowhere to go, so why come home."
It only takes each one of us to make a difference! So, go do the right thing and vote "yes" for the park levy.
DONNA M. COLEMAN
Boardman schools need money more than park
With a tax levy for the Boardman schools coming up in November, the timing for a $24 million Boardman Park recreational center is ridiculous. Boardman is my home and I'm in favor of a green oasis, but you don't have to duplicate what the family YMCA and H.M. Health partners is already building with nontaxpayer money right across the street on McClurg Road.
Here are a few things for the voters to ponder before Election Day.
1) The seniors already have a recreation center. It's called the Southern Park Mall. Hundreds of walkers go there every day to walk and talk and visit and drink coffee.
2) There is an Olympic size competitive pool at YSU that is quite capable of handling the swimmers and their cheering fans. Also no cost to the taxpayers.
3) There are fitness centers and catering services in Boardman that are asked to support a levy that is geared to being their competition. And they are expected to pay taxes to a government entity that is competing against them.
You must get up and go to your voting booth and cast your "no" vote to this levy. Don't say, "My vote won't count," because it does. This is what freedom is all about.
Milton police sergeant responds to allegations
I am the police officer referred to in a May 2 letter written by the husband of the Milton Township clerk. I have been an officer with Milton Township since December 1977. When I asked the chief about light duty, he told me he had a large amount of work that needed to be caught up on from 1977 and that I could get the computer system caught up and help get paper work finished for reports that must be sent to the FBI.
When I started working the office shift, I was amazed at how much work and responsibility the chief has during the day. I can tell you that he never stopped.
We seem to have a small group of individuals that are just negative about everything their local government is trying to accomplish. Whether it's in Craig Beach Village or Milton Township, this group is bent on destroying local government.
If you want to know the truth about your government, just ask. Don't allow a small radical group of individuals to speak for you.
Det. Sgt. FRANK R. TOMAINO
Milton Township Police Department