9.25-mill Niles school levy deserves support of voters

9.25-mill Niles school levy deserves support of voters

On Nov. 7, residents of the Niles City School District will decide an important issue that will greatly enhance student achievement and support the daily needs of the district.

The 10-year, 9.25-mill emergency operating levy on the ballot would raise $2 million annually and help improve technology; maintain current class sizes and staffing; maintain current busing routes and update the aging bus fleet; and continue the limited fees for academic, extracurricular and athletic programs.

It’s been 12 years since the district last passed additional operating dollars. If approved, the levy would cost the average homeowner $18 per month.

This request for additional tax dollars comes during a time of less funding for state and federal school programs. Also, $1 million annually is lost to charter schools and school choice.

With decreased funding, the district has made cuts where possible, including the elimination of two administrative positions and busing for nonpublic and charter schools.

In deciding whether to support the levy, remember that a strong school system is the foundation for a strong community.

Richard Lewis, Columbus

Richard Lewis is executive director of the Ohio School Boards Association.

Canfield residents, consider these points in Nov. voting

First, I am looking forward to electing council persons and selecting a city manager who will enforce our ordinances in Canfield. I am a bit weary of hearing that “nobody is complaining” as a reason to ignore ordinances. Anyone who supports this will get my vote. The ordinances are there for a reason. There is no reason for property maintenance issues to go on and on have citizens plead for help.

Second, I am looking forward to electing council persons and selecting a city manager who will support and instruct our police to protect the citizens by enforcing the speed limits on city streets. Their first duty is to the citizens. The police force takes two-thirds of the city budget. We just passed a levy to support the police. I want my money’s worth.

Third, I am looking forward to electing council persons and selecting a city manager who will not be afraid to critically look at the actions of our boards and commissions. Boards report to no one. As an example, take the Jason Canfield home, which had been abandoned for many years. A builder wanted to build up to 17 homes on that property, which could have contributed dollars to our tax base. But the boards and commissions said no; the building cannot be demolished. But they did not provide a viable alternative. City council sat on their hands and we had a lost opportunity. Enough of this “go away and leave us alone” mentality. Now we find ourselves in need of funding and wonder why. We have met the enemy, and he is us.

But not all is lost. In the past:

Citizens voted to put term limits for council and mayor.

Citizens voted to put term limits for boards and commissions.

Citizens voted to allow citizens to make comments before a final vote on issues before council.

Citizens voted to require staff members to attend council meetings and report on their areas of responsibility and respond to questions from citizens.

It should be mentioned that council was forced to put these issues on the ballot due to signed petitions. It was not done on their initiative. Council opposed all of them, but they all did pass in the elections.

We need people who are in touch and get things done and not oppose issues that citizens want.

So, in voting for the next city officials, I look for persons whose platform will include transparency, encourage citizen participation and realize and address the challenges we have. Persons whose first priority is the citizens and not their political career.

I encourage all citizens to vote.

Frank Micchia, Canfield

Tame giant pharmaceutical industry; vote for Issue 2

For months we have been hit with a barrage of ads in opposition to Issue 2, The Ohio Drug Price Relief Act.

I don’t know how much the giant pharmaceutical industry has spent in Ohio, but in California last year, the industry spent $109 million to defeat a similar issue. (The Vindicator, Aug. 3)

The giant industry reaps enormous profits from its sale of drugs, manufactured in China and India. But it still engages in price gouging that leaves families of seriously ill children and the elderly in jeopardy. Example: Former top executive John Martin of Gilead Sciences collected $863 million over the seven years he was employed there. (The Vindicator, Sept. 28)

The target of this blitzkrieg is a small bill that will allow the state to negotiate a price reduction on the drugs it purchases.

Get past the hype and the cleverly scripted ads; the giant industry threatens to take away the veterans’ discount and increase rates for insured consumers, if Issue 2 passes.

If Issue 2 passes, it will show that the consumer has power through the ballot box. The giant industry fears that other ill customers may seek relief from ever increasing drug prices through the ballot box.

Only those covered by this issue will benefit from its passing. But a “yes” vote on Issue 2 by all consumers of prescription drugs is the right thing to do.

A. M. Jackson, Youngstown

Why vote for Issue 2?

Why will I vote for state Issue 2, the drug-price relief initiative? Because attention must be paid to America’s skeevy, racketeerized health-care schemes. Attention must be paid.

And Issue 2, however flawed, pays attention. That’s why I’ll vote for it.

Jack Labusch, Niles

When voting in fall, think about public-school funding

It’s fall once again and school bells ring, buses fill our roadways and families head out to Friday night football games. Parents lament, rightfully so, the cost of classroom supplies, fees imposed at each grade level, extracurricular charges and possible pay-for-play activities.

But does the public understand that local and state tax dollars designated for our public schools are siphoned off to support charter schools? And if the current U.S. secretary of Education is successful, our tax dollars will also support parochial schools and support vouchers for all. Over the past 25 years, charter schools have shown an abysmal academic performance, many closed by the state, taking with them our tax dollars and property only to reopen under the guise of another name. The body of research overwhelmingly shows that public schools outperform charters, yet Ohio taxpayers are billed for nearly $250 million annually for this inferior educational option in the name of “school reform or school choice”.

The shifting of funds from public education to sustain charter schools leaves public schools with little choice but to impose fees, scale back programs, personnel, and, as a last resort, place levies on the ballot.

Charter schools, with permission from the Ohio state legislators that receive massive campaign contributions from them are allowed to operate with no fiscal oversight, unlicensed teachers and accountable to no one except the CEO whose mission is profit driven. Public education, on the other hand, operates under strict state and local oversight, with highly qualified licensed teachers, answerable to local communities through elected school boards.

It is time to once again properly fund the public schools. Citizens have always had the option of sending their children to private, charter, or parochial schools, but never at taxpayer expense. This needs to stop. We need to once again invest in our neighborhood public schools. Taxpayers cannot afford to fund two school systems stripping resources from the vast majority of students.

Private schools should be just that, private without public funds. Please keep this in mind when selecting candidates this November.

Susan M. Olive, Niles

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