Wednesday, May 5, 2010


We are thrilled to announce that our school levy PASSED with flying colors last night!
Ten years ago, we received our first introduction to school levies in Ohio. Here, schools are funded largely by property taxes. When expenses go up, schools have to raise property taxes. To do that, they have to put a levy on the ballot to ask voters. It is not a great system, but it is what it is and we will support it. Our neighboring district, Little Miami, has failed 5 consecutive levy attempts and they are in a fiscal emergency. The state has taken control of their school and budget and the schools have been cut to state minimums. That means no busing, no gym, art, or PE for K-8, no electives for high school students, pay to play for sports, and the list continues on and on. Their property values have tanked (our exact house in Little Miami is worth $15K less) and you cannot sell your house because no one wants to move into the district. There have been a lot of tears.
No one wants to go broke paying their taxes, but there are certain things in America that are a fact of life and this is one of them. You have to support your schools- if you don't, what WILL you support? In Indiana, you may have lower property taxes, but you still pay for the schools through your sales taxes, your license fees, etc. We ALL HAVE TO SUPPORT THE SCHOOLS.
It became a very important issue in our house and we tried to be very active in the cause. Seeing what happened in Little Miami turned us into some serious activists. We live in a fantastic district and we will do anything we can to keep it that way. Not surprisingly, there are some who just wanted to see the levy fail and they did anything they could do see that happen. There was talk of how wasteful it was that our teachers are the highest paid teachers in the county- at an average of 45K per teacher. Anyone who thinks that $50,000 is too much to pay a teacher, PLEASE- raise your hand. I want to talk to you. Anyone who believes that teachers shouldn't be making double that amount for what they do for our children, stand up. Because I will never understand that. Neily spends more time with her teacher than she does at home, and I am forever grateful to Mrs. Stutzman for all that she does. I know that for every hour she spends in the class, 2 are spent working outside the classroom. Our teachers attend our after school functions, our sports games. They are worth ten times that amount.
I went to dinner last night to celebrate a friend's birthday and we were watching the numbers roll in. When the first set of numbers came in quite low in favor of our levy, my stomach literally ached. I had not prepared myself for the idea that our levy would not pass. Suddenly my mind started to race- what will I tell Neily? How can I explain that her favorite teacher's job is in danger? How am I going to tell her that her gym teacher no longer has a job? The loss of the extra activities that put our school at the top- spanish classes, cooking classes, dance activities, etc- suddenly seemed like they were slipping away and I was physically ill. Eddie was texting me with the latest results that he was seeing and those numbers weren't much better. I honestly had tears in my eyes.
Throughout the night, our numbers slowly started to turn and we had a lead (a very small one!) of 51% for the levy and 49% against, it was about 200 votes. A few more precincts came in and we bumped up to 53%. By the end of the night, we were at 57% for the levy and it passed. My friends and I gave a quick cheer but I could not get past the numbers for Little Miami... their levy had failed again. It didn't feel right to celebrate when our friends two miles away were in tears. Their hope was taken away last night and they have a long road ahead of them. I felt sad that my children were so lucky and they were not. Parents just want the best for their children and it should not come to this to get it. Every child deserves an amazing education and it's time that they get it.
Sorry for the heaviness of this post, but this was SO important to us. We passed out signs, we stood with our children waving signs to support the levy, we attended rallies to show our support, and it was worth it. We are proud to be Kings Knights! If you live in Ohio, PLEASE write your senators and representatives and ask them to find another way to help Ohio schools. This has to change, because what is happening in Little Miami should not happen to our children. That was my original purpose in writing this post, the first few paragraphs will eventually be sent on to my local representative in hopes of change.

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