Girard shouldn't let opportunity pass it by
Opportunity is knocking for the voters in the Girard School District. The state of Ohio is offering us $17.2 million. But it won't be there forever, and the time to act is now.
We can take Girard schools into the 21st century with a campus-type setting, putting all city schools within walking distance of each other, allowing all students, faculty and parents to take advantage of all resources in one location. The plan would open opportunities to our children both academically and athletically. The new building will be handicapped accessible for those, young and old, who have had to deal with all the steps in the current 81-year-old high school, a barrier you would have to experience to appreciate. There will be room for expansion should the need arise and finally some parking will be available.
Of course, we do have our share to pay, and that is the question at hand. Some opponents say they can't afford any more taxes. The average homeowner in Girard will see about a $10 a month increase.
Our senior residents are another consideration, with so many on fixed incomes. We have all gathered around the dinner table and listened to the stories of their youth and the truly hard times of the 1920s and '30s. But even in those hard times, this community found the resources to build new schools, buildings whose times have now passed. Do not the children of today deserve as much? To wait and do this later (it will eventually have to be done), will only cost us more. We will have to deal with higher bond rates, materials prices and construction costs. And the $17.2 million from the state is only guaranteed until the end of August. After that, we fall to the bottom of the list and take our chances as to whether it will ever be available again.
For those against this plan in the hopes of retaining Mahoning Country Club, keep in mind that if they are willing to sell to build a school, they are eventually going to sell to someone. It may be for homes, it may be to Wal-Mart. My choice is a new school. But I guess a Wal-Mart would be nice, too.
Another option would be to use eminent domain to displace over 20 Girard families. That will save only 2 percent in the total cost, a difference of 20 cents a month in taxes. Renovation of the current building would require squeezing our children into mobile trailer classrooms for up to three years, would only save a portion of the cost of purchasing the land and give us only four acres instead 60. We would still have to pass a bond levy.
Girard High School's banner has long been. "Setting the pace for others to follow!" We need to stay in step with our neighbors like McDonald, Niles, Liberty, Warren, Youngstown and hundreds more around the state that have taken advantage of the opportunity the state is giving us. On Aug. 2, don't make the $17 million mistake. Vote for the levy. Vote for Girard.
Tablack will be missed
It is with deep regret that we submit this letter. As trustees in the two largest townships in Mahoning County, we were shocked and saddened to learn that our Mahoning County auditor of nearly two decades, George Tablack, was leaving our area to accept a position as chief financial officer of Palm Beach, Fla.
George and his professional staff have always demonstrated a sincere desire to work closely with elected officials for the benefit of the taxpayers. We learned a lot about government finances and politics from George. In our opinion, he has been a shining example of what good government should be, and he has been a mentor to both of us. It will be a very difficult task to find his replacement.
Our loss will undoubtedly be Palm Beach's gain. We wish George and his family the very best as they embark on a new chapter in their lives.
LISA L. OLES
Austintown Township Trustee
Boardman Township Trustee