Education

Ken Rieman: “A vote for the Bowling Green school bond issue is a vote for community improvement and economic development”

A vote for the Bowling Green school bond issue is a vote for community improvement and economic development.  It’s a vote to provide the best possible learning environment for our most precious resource–the children of our community. Families consider school reputation and facilities when deciding where to live. Up to date school facilities reflect the importance the community places on families and families are the life of every community. If we want our children and grandchildren to stay local we need to provide the best learning environment for them now and when they become parents. It is not just about attracting new people. It is about making the Bowling Green school district the place our children and grandchildren will raise their families. They will have a choice and if we don’t make it attractive they will go elsewhere. The facilities proposed by the school board are not extravagant. They have considered options carefully and have come up with a plan that provides an equal and improved education system for all students,more efficient operational costs and greater security.  The benefits far outweigh trying to extend the life of old facilities. The cost savings that will occur will reduce operating costs. Balancing class size and eliminating bussing some kids to a school across town as has been done for too many years is only possible with a central location. Segregating groups by grade level  will maintain the small school atmosphere and allow grade level teachers to work together.   The school system has been a good steward of community resources and has extended the life of the current  facilities as long as possible. Like an old previously dependable car there comes a time when upkeep exceeds the cost of a new vehicle. More efficient vehicles with better safety features are available and you know you waited longer than you should have to replace it. That is where we are at now with our school buildings. You can try to fix up an old car but it will be expensive,not last as long as something new and will never have the capabilities of a more modern vehicle. It is the same with trying to renovate old buildings. New schools do not come without cost.  However,people will choose to live where they feel their children have the best educational opportunities. If we don’t improve our schools and school system  we are showing people we don’t feel it is important to invest in our community. If we don’t spend money on our schools why should families spend money on a home in our school district? Paying for the new buildings over 37 years makes it affordable. It spreads out the cost so current and future taxpayers share in the expense–not just current  taxpayers. We should not let this opportunity to improve our community pass us…


Melissa Shaffer: Smaller schools provide the best learning environment

I am in support of quality education for our children but oppose the school levy to build one new consolidated elementary school.  My reason has nothing to do with money nor taxes. My reason has everything to do with the best learning environment for young children. I arrived to this opinion after 30+ years of teaching in a variety of states, communities and facilities. I was born and raised in Bowling Green, recently moved back after a long career as an educator. I attended Kenwood, Conneaut, middle school and high school in Bowling Green. My father taught chemistry at the high school. Children learn best in environments where everyone knows their name, knows who you are. And if they don’t know you, they know your sibling and if they don’t know your sibling, they know your parents. And if they don’t know your parents, they know someone who knows your parents. No one is invisible. In a small neighborhood school, students have less risk of falling through the cracks. If a student is failing math, isn’t hearing, skips class, quietly crying, etc. Someone will notice and approach the student to help. Individual attention is easily offered. When I was a student at Conneaut, someone noticed early I wasn’t hearing well. When I was silently tearful during a math test, someone noticed. When I skipped class, someone noticed. As a student, I didn’t always want individual attention but it was what I needed at the time. As a child, I knew all of my classmates and teachers, inside the classroom as well as outside, and felt accountable and confident. Distractions were limited. In a large building with a large population, it’s much too easy for an individual student to be overlooked and invisible. As a young child enters through the front door of a huge multi-winged or multi-level building, he will feel intimidated and overwhelmed not knowing who everyone is, not knowing all the teachers, not knowing where his classroom is located. Is this how you want your child to feel as he tries to learn new concepts and ideas? Will he be able to stay focused on the learning content? Will he be self-conscious and shy? Or will he be ready to bravely raise his hand with a question or potential answer? I want my child to feel comfortable and confident in her educational environment where she knows exactly who everyone is and where she needs to be. I want her to feel like she is in her second “family” and not in an industrial warehouse. I would encourage the community to put money into renovating and repairing the current small neighborhood schools instead of moving all of the children out of these buildings into one gigantic building. If we need to build another small neighborhood school for the space…


Navins: A yes vote on bond issue is a yes for the future of city’s children

“We can’t afford the proposed school levy”.  How many times have you heard this opinion voiced at the school board meetings and seen it in multiple ads in the Sentinel Tribune, two large billboards at the entrances to the city, multiple signs on rental properties in the city and a school district wide professional mailing sent to all residents. Doesn’t it make you wonder WHY these individuals are SPENDING SO MUCH MONEY (‘estimates of over $10,000) on their opposition to the proposed levy? .They voice a very strong “no” from reasons that range from too much money, to too long a time, to favoring neighborhood schools that are deteriorating but are being touted by the opponents as the “good bones” of our aging school buildings. The group of individuals funding the opposition to the levy own large amounts of property in the school district either farm acreage or rental properties.  The levy would, they feel, tax them disproportionally. Perhaps they don’t realize that a poor educational system will damage their labor pool (no one capable of performing the needed jobs) and decrease their property values. Bowling Green will  become a less desirable place to live as the quality of our educational system deteriorates. Professionals have testified that the levy plan is comprehensive and long-term cost saving to the district.  It will also provide a learning environment for the children of the district to meet the challenges they will be facing in a totally different and changing world.  Consultants have testified that this type of tax is the fairest to all the taxpayers in the school district. Citizens of Bowling Green, it’s time for us to think for ourselves.  Don’t let yourselves be swayed by individuals who have forgotten that the purpose of taxation through Ohio school levies is to promote a fair and high quality education for our children. This applies to both the professionals who work with our children and the quality of the facilities in which they learn. Who paid for your education?  The taxpayers who came before you who made sacrifices to pay for your education.  Go to the Board of Education website: www.bgschools4kids.com to see the rationale and costs of the proposed  levy. Please VOTE on May 8. Make it YOUR vote for the future of our children.  Our votes will be YES for the Bowling Green School District. We hope yours will be too.   Joanne and Leo Navin Bowling Green


Youngsters share the stories of Hispanic heroes

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Joan Medina was a little intimidated by portraying his character during the Celebrate Dia! literacy program Monday evening. Medina was called on to portray Cesar Chavez, “an icon in the culture.” Nerves or not, the 17-year-old Penta student, dressed in a white shirt, stood up and told the farm labor leader’s story, first in English and then in Spanish. He was proud to do it. Chavez fought for the rights of farm workers, but he did so non-violently, inspired by the methods of Gandhi. “He showed that people are people, and they deserve to be treated fairly.” Medina said. He was one of eight young people, portraying seven notable Latino figures at the Wood County District Public Library. El Dia de los Ninos/El Dia de los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Dy) is a national event initiated by the American Library Association. Children’s Librarian Maria Simon said she was grateful the library could hold its own celebration in partnership with La Conexion. This is the fifth year the library has hosted the celebration. Each year a book is selected to build the program around. This year it was “Bravo!” written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Rafael Lopez. Beatriz Maya, the director of La Conexion, said the event was a way to help young people learn more about their Hispanic heritage and then to share it with the community. Also, some may be encouraged to learn or maintain their Spanish when they see their peers using it in their presentations, she said. The figures offered a wide range of characters from a diplomat to a baseball star to, fittingly given the setting, a librarian. Beside Medina’s portrayal of Chavez, other presentations were: Adolfo Martinez Alba portrayed Juan de Miralles, a Spanish messenger to the early American Congress. Shanaia Cellis portrayed Juana Briones, a Mexican rancher and healer. Jonathan Ortega portrayed Louis Agassiz Fuertes, an ornithologist and painter. Eduardo Matta portrayed Arnold Rojas, who chronicled the life and lore of the California vaquero, or cowboy. Ivan Ortega portrayed Baseball Hall of Famer and humanitarian Roberto Clemente. Francis Chavez and Jessica Jurka who portrayed Pure Bulpre, the first Puerto Rican librarian in the New York Public Library. Cellis, a 13-year-old student at St. Aloysius School, said she was excited to present the story of Juana Briones. She was inspired how Briones was able to endure despite hardships. When Briones’ soldier husband was abusive, she left him and started her own ranch. When northern California came under US control, she had to fight a prolonged legal battle to maintain ownership. “She was independent,” the teen said. This was Cellis’ third year participating in Celebrate Dia! Previously she danced and sang. Medina, who was participating for the first time, said he enjoyed the event. There were cookies afterward, but more…


Opposing sides sink money into BG school levy issue

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   With just a week to convince voters to cast their ballots for or against the Bowling Green City Schools levy, both sides are putting money into their messages. The anti-levy group – Wood County Citizens Against Higher Property Tax – has erected billboards on the outskirts of the city urging people to reject the levy to build a new consolidated elementary, plus renovate and add onto the high school. The group has purchased more than $4,000 in newspaper ads showing young students questioning the need for new schools. And they have sent out mailers accusing the school board of not telling the truth about the levy. The pro-levy group – called Citizens in Support of Our Schools – has spent the bulk of its contributions on mailers and postage. Yard signs are popping up on both sides of the issue. As of last week’s filing deadline for campaign finance reports for the May 8 election, the anti-levy group had raised $10,866 from nine donors. The pro-levy group had raised $14,175 from 32 donors. Wood County Board of Elections Director Terry Burton said Monday that campaign finance law requires any Political Action Committee to report its finances. The reports must include where the money comes from – both in financial contributions and in-kind donations which are products or services that benefit the cause. An individual does not need to report money spent on his or her own, Burton said. “They retain their First Amendment rights of free speech.” However, that changes if individuals work together, he said. “If two or more people get together and coordinate in any way,” they must file a report on where the finances came from, and how they were spent, Burton said. Last Thursday was the deadline for the first round of finance reporting for the May 8 election. The pre-election report covers all the revenue and expenses up to 20 days prior to the election. The post-election report, which is due June 15, must cover all finances after the pre-election report. “Typically we don’t get a full picture till post election,” he said. Burton said the board of elections does not question the numbers submitted by local PACs. “We are required to take their campaign reports at face value – unless we have a reason to believe it’s not accurate,” he said. “In general, in Wood County, we have not had an issue with people trying to skirt reporting,” Burton said. Election law requires that the name of the PAC or purchaser of political advertising must be listed on flyers, yard signs or billboards. In the information filed with the Wood County Board of Elections, was correspondence between school levy opponent Bud Henschen and the billboard company he was purchasing space from for $2,750. Lamar Advertising noted…


J. Scott Stewart: Yes vote for school bond issue important for BG’s future

This coming Tuesday, May 8th, we all have a rare opportunity.  We have the chance to vote YES for the Bowling Green School Bond Issue.  With the passage of the School Bond Issue, we will provide our children and future students with a modern, safe learning environment that will allow our children to learn in a setting that has up to date technologies, provides equal opportunities for our students no matter where they live in our community and give our students everything they need to compete in the world outside of Bowling Green. Construction of new schools will provide jobs in the community, and more importantly, updated modern schools will attract the 30-something families that both the Land Use Plan and the Community Action Plan have stated are critical to maintaining the long term viability of Bowling Green as an active, vital community. It is not unreasonable to say that passage of the Bowling Green School Bond Issue will be the first real project to actually move the Land Use Plan and The Community Action Plan toward reality. Fellow Bowling Green citizens, we have a rare chance to have a Win-Win project for our city, but we must act!  Please join me Tuesday, May 8th in voting YES for The Bowling Green School Bond Issue. Your VOTE will only count if you CAST IT! Dr. J Scott Stewart


School tours – some see obsolete, some see opportunity

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For more than 60 years, Conneaut and Kenwood elementaries have educated young minds. They continue to do so – but under some challenging conditions. The heat at both elementaries leaves some students sweltering while others have to be bundled in their coats.  The gym floor at Kenwood is buckled, and the microwave in the kitchen has to be moved around to open outlets. Lack of storage space in both schools has led to some items sitting in the halls. Asbestos contained in the ceilings means nothing – not even a staple – can but put in the tiles. Conneaut’s art teacher’s classroom is sometimes a cart, since some years there is no extra room for her class. Residents of the school district were invited into the two elementaries and the high school for tours on Saturday. The district is trying to pass a 5.7-mill levy to construct a centralized elementary, plus renovate and add onto the high school. The tours were in response to criticism by levy opponents, who would rather see the elementaries renovated, costing the district $30 million less than the $72 million price tag for the high school and new consolidated elementary. It seemed few minds were swayed by the school tours. Those against the levy questioned why the district would build a new building, when the 60-plus-year-old elementaries can be renovated. Those for the levy asked why the district would put a band-aid on big problems and delay constructing new buildings as the costs continue to grow. Both sides seemed to dig in during Saturday’s tours. Some parents on the tours expressed disappointment in efforts to “attack the integrity” of the school board and administration. “That’s what’s driving me nuts about this,” one father said. Getting lost in the verbal battles are the children, Superintendent Francis Scruci said at the end of the Kenwood tour. “It’s the best thing for kids,” he said of the building plan. That message was drowned out by David Apple, who is opposed to the levy. The district will be saddled with the bond issue for 37 years, but Scruci won’t last 10 years here before he is “run out of town,” Apple said. Following are some of the items pointed out by building principals during Saturday’s tours. At Kenwood, Principal Kathleen Daney explained that she came to Bowling Green City Schools about five years ago from Toledo Public Schools. She talked about the building’s asbestos contained in the ceilings, the dim lighting, leaks in the rooms from the steam heat, and a closet being used for the school counselor. The teachers’ lounge is crammed into a room that is also used for storage. “I was kind of shocked that this is the best we can do,” Daney said, recalling her first reaction…


Tracy Hovest: Saying Yes to the BG Bond Issue is saying Yes to students, teachers, and this community

Recently,  Grant Chamberlain touted that being against the bond doesn’t make those voting against the bond against students. I beg to differ and I can no longer be a spectator of their attacks on this community. He and others are against kids and schools as long as it costs them money, but yet try to find any other reason why they are voting no. SInce I moved here a little over a year ago, I have become informed and active in the BG Community and BG BOND issue to a great extent. My family has been so appreciative of what this community and BG Schools has offered us.  However, everything rears its ugly head and it reared its ugly head in the form of Wood County Citizens Against Higher Property Tax. This group’s first attack against kids comes in the repeated malicious attacks against the BG Board and Superintendent Scruci, whom students adore. These individuals have been outright assaulted by this group of naysayers on a daily basis. These insults are unwarranted and a guise to bully people into thinking that the BG Board and Superintendent are trying to bamboozle the voters and swindle tax dollars. This is not the case. The Board of Education and Superintendent have been putting students and their needs first in this district and it’s a shame that others don’t want to see it and try to sway others because of selfishness. When the most vocal nay sayers aren’t stuffing their pockets and riding the coat tails of their farming clients or hustling the community to thinking that the school board is in kahoots to steal the community’s tax dollars, they spend their time being malicious and rude online or attacking the teachers and citizens who defend the bond that is best for kids. Yet another attack on kids of our schools when they go after the throats of the teachers, staff, and community members who are trying to do what’s best for kids. The board has never negated the ask of this bond and no matter what the board does or says to try to provide information that shows why the bond issue is the best and most affordable option, Chamberlain, Bateson, Sabo, Hinesman and other cronies of this group, stoop to all levels, continue to attack, put out misinformation, and mislead the public anyway they can. They are like pouting children who get the answers they’ve asked for, but then because it’s not the ones they want to hear, they cry and scream louder until people get annoyed and walk away. I’m disheartened for the community based on the naysayers behavior because it’s slapping every one of the selfless teachers who help love, support, and lift up the students of this community in the face. That’s an attack against students. You are saying…


‘Dr. G.’ carries King’s message with edgy topics on stage

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Dr. JoBeth Gonzalez uses the stage to allow students to address touchy issues. It is there that they find a voice on difficult topics like human trafficking, suicide and racism. On Friday, Gonzalez was given the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major for Peace Award by the Bowling Green Human Relations Commission. The program, in the library atrium, reminded people through words and song that “the journey is not over, the struggle is not done.” In accepting the award, Gonzalez thanked the commission for being a microphone for such issues, and Bowling Green High School for allowing her to explore edgy topics. She also thanked her husband, Al Gonzalez, for challenging her to think with depth and breadth, and her drama students at BGHS. “Good leaders are good listeners, and I’ve learned to listen to my students on the topics that are important to them.” “I accept this award humbly on behalf of, and because of, my students,” said Gonzalez, who is known to students and fellow staff as Dr. G. The Drum Major for Peace Award is given annually to highlight significant efforts by people who further the betterment of human relations in the Bowling Green community by actively promoting justice, peace, and respect. The spirit of this award is captured in King’s “Drum Major” sermon, in which he encouraged his congregation to seek greatness, but to do so through service and love. Gonzalez is accustomed to accolades, having earned national and state recognition for her work with youth theater. In fact, she is recognized as a leader in her field, explained Jennifer Dever, a fellow BGHS teacher and a member of the human relations commission. Theater education has benefitted from Gonzalez’s contributions. However, closer to home, the community has benefited even more, Dever said. “Dr. G’s positive impact on our community has inspired our community’s students — students of all backgrounds and abilities — to honestly look at their world and have the difficult conversations necessary to affect positive change,” Dever said. Gonzalez has said, “Drama may be the most successful portal for creating a safe space for honest dialogue among young people.” Her work reflects this, Dever said. In each production and class, she encourages students to explore social issues and share their new-found awareness. “After all, how better can we create lasting empathy for all than to nurture it in our youngest citizens,” Dever said. One example of that encapsulates Gonzalez’s work is the Social Issues Theater class she began teaching 12 years ago, Dever explained. Each class selects a social issue that will be the focus of their research, writing, and performing. The success of this class spreads beyond the classroom into the community. One class chose to focus their research on the issue of human…


Chamber of Commerce: “All of us will benefit from an enhanced, state-of-the-art  school district”

The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has voted to endorse the School Bond issue.  From the business and economic development perspective, there is a strong link between quality schools and local commerce.  We know from first-hand experience that new business, whether it has one employee to 500+, often the quality of the schools factor into the decision to locate or not in our district. We know recruiting and retaining a skilled and diverse workforce is a major factor that determines our economic growth.  A quality district with state-of-the-art facilities is often a priority for new hires who are looking to move into our area. If these new hires stay, they add to growth of our housing, retail, churches, parks and more. All of us who live in the BG School District benefits from that commerce as well.   We also recognize that time is of the essence.  Based on the 4/26/2018 Bowling Green City Schools Tax Analysis, compiled and presented by Rockmill Consulting Firm, the costs of the proposed project will only continue to rise. Mr. Conley noted that since the November 2017 election, the cost of our project has already risen by 4M.  The cost is predicted to continue to increase due to interest rates, inflation, and the rising construction costs. To curb costs, waiting is not an option. And to the current and future Bobcats, our community owes you state-of-the-art facilities and opportunities to become the best you can be in a very competitive world.  And for the future, we want you to continue the cycle of investment and commerce in BG, where you too will be assessing the quality of the school district for your own children. The bottom line is this, all of us will benefit from an enhanced, state-of-the-art  school district that is competitive to area school districts. Such a school district is a powerful attraction to new business and the domino effect of strengthening local commerce, the workforce, and the  over-all quality of life…the long term reward far exceeds the cost.   Respectfully, Earlene Kilpatrick, Executive Director Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce


BG Schools property tax plan defended as best option

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A man who makes his living getting schools and governmental entities out of sticky financial situations has issued his verdict – Bowling Green City School District manages its money well, has tax levels lower than most in the region, and is asking for the right tax to fund its building project. David Conley, president of Rockmill Financial, was hired by the district to examine a question raised by citizens. Would an income tax be better than a property tax to finance the $72 million building project to consolidate the elementary schools plus add onto and renovate the high school? “I commend the board for making that decision” to have the issue researched. Many districts would “brush it under the rug,” Conley said during a community meeting Thursday evening. What he found was that a property tax is more fair to the majority of people in the school district. “The property tax they’ve put on the table in front of the community is the best funding option at this time,” he said. The bond issue will appear on the May 8 ballot. To fund the building project with a property tax, it would take 5.7 mills over 37 years. That would mean the owner of a $156,600 home would pay $26.03 a month. For an elderly person, that could decrease to $21.88 a month, Conley said. To fund the project with income tax, it would cost the average family $41.25 per month. It would require a three-quarter percent income tax for 20 years. Using an income tax would make Bowling Green among the least affordable school districts in the region – second only to Ottawa Hills, Conley said. “The increased cost of $15 a month wouldn’t be advisable,” he said. A property tax is more affordable since it is paid by residents and businesses, he said. “Property tax spreads the tax to more taxpayers.” Richard Chamberlain, an outspoken critic of the property tax, pointed out that the income tax for 20 years will generate $105 million, while the property tax for 37 years will generate $141 million. Conley agreed with the numbers, but said the property tax is much more affordable for the average income families in the district. “You have more income than most people,” Conley said to Chamberlain. “How do you know that?” Chamberlain asked. “I know you,” Conley replied. Chamberlain also tried to say the district was not using available state facilities funding – but Conley repeatedly corrected him by saying the district is not eligible now for the funding, and it would be years before it might be. The district has also been criticized for stretching the bond issue over 37 years to make it more affordable for residents. However, Conley said the majority of school districts in Ohio…


Students petition for flexible seating to allow fidgeting

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   So much for stiff, hard-backed chairs in this Crim classroom. The students in Amy Kenyon’s fifth grade had enough of the uncomfortable traditional seats. They wanted flexibility – and they took action to get it. “I read an article about it,” Chasey Walker said. “So I started a petition.” “It helps us concentrate more,” another student chimed in. “Most definitely,” Dylan Krupp said. It all began when students in Kenyon’s language arts classroom were working on non-fiction reading and opinion writing. They took their lesson a step further. “We’ve made a petition,” they informed Kenyon. “And I thought – oh no,” their teacher said. Kenyon advised the students that their petition would need to be backed up by an essay. “This group then grows,” Kenyon said of the students pushing for flexible seating. Maddy Baldonado and Isa Wan started working on a persuasive essay, while Dylan began researching the costs of non-traditional seating. “I was stuck,” Kenyon said with a big grin. “I can’t tell them not to research.” The students even recruited Isabella Nardone, from another classroom, to help their cause. “They bring her in because she’s really good with words,” Kenyon said. The students researched the value of flexible seating, which allows kids to fidget and use up energy that builds up if they are forced to sit still in rigid chairs. Kenyon agreed that some students’ brains work better when their bodies are moving. “As long as the students are working, they can be comfortable,” she said. The students were so committed, they used free time on their mission to get a grant for flexible seating. “They worked on it on their own time, before school, during recess, they ate lunch in class,” Kenyon said. Dylan’s research turned up all kinds of non-traditional seating – bungee cord chairs that allow children to sink into a web of stretchy cords, wobble stools that give kids the ability to wiggle around, standing “stability discs” that allow kids to wobble, camp chairs, stools low to the floor, bouncy bands under desks that allow for foot movement, and even bicycle pedals under a desk. “I was so impressed,” Kenyon said of their dedication. Then came the next step. The students had to present their proposal to interim Principal Gary Keller. “He thought it was really good,” Kenyon said. “I almost cried. They were so good.” Then came an even bigger trial. They had to present their case to Superintendent Francis Scruci. The young activists made their pitch. “You’re fidgeting in class and just want to get out of this hard plastic chair,” their presentation began. “Kids sometimes can’t focus and want to mess around during class. They need a break in school. Flexible seating allows kids to be focused and to be comfy.”…


Mike Aspacher urges support for BG Schools levy

I am writing to urge residents to strongly consider supporting the Bowling Green City Schools proposed bond levy. The proposed levy would allow for the financing of much- needed school facility improvements. It is worth noting that our current elementary school buildings were built in the 1950s and 1960s and and are among the oldest school facilities in Wood County. I believe that our Board of Education has done an excellent job of considering all the potential building options and has chosen a plan that will best meet the educational needs of our students. It will result in the construction of school buildings that will meet our community’s needs for years to come. I do not offer my endorsement of this effort blindly. I am very much aware that this levy will place an additional financial burden on all of the residents of our community, and I am sensitive to the impact that this will have on every family and each business’s budget. I do however feel strongly that this investment is critical to the continued health and vitality of the Bowling Green community. It is well established that strong and healthy public schools are a vital component of the overall strength of a community, and the fact that the quality our school facilities has fallen behind those in surrounding school districts can not be ignored. The investment in our community that would result from the passage of this levy will not only allow us to provide for the educational needs of our students, but will also result in increased property values, and will assist in the City’s efforts to attract families and businesses to our community, both resulting in an expansion of the tax base in the community. In short, investment in our school system is also an investment in the continued strength of our community. When you vote on May 8, please consider the responsibility that we all share to provide the same level of support to our children and grandchildren that was extended to us by past generations. Mike Aspacher Bowling Green


Facts are what ignites author & illustrator Don Tate’s imagination

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Perry Field House at Bowling Green State University Saturday hosted scores of future Don Tates. Tate, a prolific illustrator of children’s books who has turned his talents to writing as well, was the guest author for Literacy in the Park. The Austin, Texas-based author and illustrator started out just like all the kids who raised their hands when he asked: Who likes to draw? He’s been drawing since before he could remember, and showed a picture he made when he was 3 of his mother, and baby sister, and some poop falling out of the infant’s diaper. Even then, he liked to include realistic details. When he was a kid growing up in Des Moines, Iowa, Tate said he particularly liked non-fiction, including the “Family Medical Guide,” which had pictures of bloody ulcers and pus-filled toe sores. And when he turned to writing his own books, as well as illustrating them, he turned to non-fiction, writing about strongman Eugen Sandow and early African-American poet George Moses Horton. Those themes were among those reflected in the dozens of activities available to children throughout the field house. Nothing, though, about pus or bloody sores. Still the activities showed how literacy is intertwined with construction, natural science, art, drama, and nutrition. Tate encouraged his young listeners to follow what they loved whether it was dancing, theater, or soccer. Tate said as a child he wasn’t as good at basketball as his father would have liked. He instead wanted to make puppets. He realized he could make a simple puppet with patterns and cloth. He wasn’t satisfied. Using an old wig his mother gave him, he made a more elaborate puppet modeled on the Muppets made by his idol Jim Henson. His mother loved it, but Tate’s father wasn’t impressed. “Your son is making dolls,” he told Tate’s mother. Young Tate persisted drawing, painting, doing macramé. His work progressed along the way and led to a career in illustration. He’s illustrated more than 50 books, including work by such notable writers as Jack Prelutsky and Louis Sachar. When he decided to write a book, he did about 30 drafts of “It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw.” It’s a true story of a man, born into slavery, who became a renowned folk artist. Then he showed it to a published author, who loved it, and told him it needed to be rewritten. That happened twice more. But every time he rewrote it, the book got better, Tate said. A published book doesn’t just happen. When it was published, it was a success and won awards. His book on the strongman Sandow, considered the father of modern body building, was also based on fact as well as the author’s personal experience. As an adult, Tate decided to…


School tax expert tries to clear BG bond issue confusion

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A school taxation expert hired to bring clarity about Bowling Green City Schools funding sources for the new school proposal tried to clear up the muddy issue Thursday evening. Citizens packed into the middle school cafeteria, and two police officers were on hand to make sure the meeting went smoothly. David Conley, president of Rockmill Financial, specifically tried to answer whether or not the school district could use income tax instead of property tax for its $72 million building project to consolidate the elementary schools plus add onto and renovate the high school. His simple answer was – “it’s complicated.” “In my opinion, what is on the ballot is the best option for the community,” Conley said. “A property tax is more affordable to most taxpayers than an income tax,” he said of the issue on the May 8 ballot. “Property tax spreads the cost to more taxpayers.” However, that answer was also complicated, since his statement holds true for the first 10-15 years, when tax statistics from the district show an income tax would then be better. Conley also added another “big ‘ole asterisk.” “The agricultural community is really getting hit with this,” he said. “But my conclusion is that the bond issue right now is the most equitable and fair for the community,” he said. District officials have said that income tax cannot be used for long-term building projects. More school districts are turning to income tax revenue for building projects, Conley said. However, even that is complicated. Districts can only use income tax for bond issues if they are eligible to get some state facilities funding. There is another option for using earned income tax – but that can’t be enacted by districts that have traditional income taxes in place, which Bowling Green has. Residents looking for black and white answers disregarded Conley’s complicated explanations. “We have been misled,” Bud Henschen said about the board’s decision to go for a property tax. “There’s no way for you to continue to lie to the public,” Richard Chamberlain said to the board as he referred to a letter from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. However, after the meeting, Conley said much of the information presented by Chamberlain in the letter was not as cut and dry as it appeared. Once again, it was more complicated. Since Bowling Green City Schools ranks 519th of 609 districts for possible state facilities funding, the likelihood is very low that it can access those funds. Only about eight schools get funded a year, meaning BG would be in line many years. “It’s going to take forever, if the program is still around,” Conley said. It’s possible the state could give the district 15 percent back if it builds to state standards, he added. “Every dollar’s…