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 by. Vote for kids,families and community improvement..   There is no no better place to invest our money than in the future of our children and our community. Vote for the BG school bond issue–our kids and our school district community are worth every penny of the all money that we will spend over the next 37 years.   Ken Rieman

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 to accommodate the numbers, then so be it. I would like to see the community investigate how to maintain small intimate educational environments for our children to learn optimally.  Please vote no on the current School Levy issue.   Melissa Shaffer Certified teacher of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children K-12 Current Adjunct American Sign Language faculty with Owens Community College

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

GOP challengers come at 5th District incumbent from both sides

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Incumbent U.S. Rep. Bob Latta was not available for an interview for this story. In response to a request by BG Independent News, his campaign spokesman Drew Griffin wrote: “We’re not going to be able to do an interview on the primary.” That Latta again was not available explains in large part why on May 8, he’s facing a primary challenges from two fellow Republicans, Robert Kreienkamp, a retired engineer, from Wayne, and Todd Wolfrum, an attorney and county commissioner, Middle Point. In interviews both referred to his lack of responsiveness. Latta is able to “hide from every debate, from every argument,” Wolfrum said. This approach is possible because conservatives have given up hope that Latta can be beaten. Kreienkamp contrasted Latta’s lack of accessibility to how accessible the representative’s father, Del Latta, who represented the district for 30 years, was. Kreienkamp recalls going to see the elder Latta about his concerns about the inheritance tax that was causing some families to sell their farms to settle up with the government. Kreienkamp, who still lives on his family farm, said Latta was straightforward in telling him that he agreed, but that a solution was unlikely at the time. Kreienkamp appreciated his candor. In contrast, he sent a letter to Bob Latta with his concerns about President Trump’s plan to build a border wall. In response he got a two-page letter filled with facts and figures. But “I didn’t have a clue if he supported it.” “People want a change,” said Wolfrum who has knocked on more than 20,000 doors. Todd Wolfrum Wolfrum said he and a lot of conservatives are tired of politicians telling them what they want to hear when campaigning and “then go to Washington and act like liberals.” He said his biggest issue is conservative representatives go to Washington to cut spending and limit government. But though the Republicans have controlled Congress for four years, government has grown and the spending has increased every year. Wolfrum said he knows as a freshman congressman he won’t be able to charge in and reform entitlements, or even cut spending for PBS. But he would try to work with members of the Freedom Caucus and even those few fiscally responsible Democrats to find some ways of cutting in small ways to develop a culture of reductions. “It’s more important to find some things that can actually be accomplished,” he said. The incumbent, he said, doesn’t even try. Instead he announces “the next big giveaway.” “The biggest problem we have in Washington is the career politicians,” Wolfrum said. Yes, he’s a Van Wert county commissioner, but that’s a part-time job. “As soon as you think how you’re going to maintain your job, you’re part of the swamp.” Wolfrum is pledging to serve only three terms. The number comes from discussions with voters who thought that was long enough. He’d like to see term limits as well as a balanced budget amendment amended to the Constitution. Such a move should come through a convention of the states, not through Washington. He would like to see federal officials place some support of parameters on such a convention to keep it from getting out of hand. Wolfrum said he agrees with President Trump’s approach to using the fate…

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 that the billboards needed to include information on who was paying for the ads. Henschen asked if the name had to be on the actual sign or just in the company files. “If you have to disclose my name so be it. However, if you can say the information is confidential, then that would be appreciated,” Henschen wrote to the billboard company. Following are a list of contributions for the Wood County Citizens Against Higher Property Tax, of which Grant…

BG Chamber: Issue 1 is “sensible, fair and positive state-wide change to the redistricting process”

The Board of Directors of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce is joining the bipartisan coalition that is supporting State Issue 1.  It is our belief, the same as the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters, that State Issue 1 would establish a new process for how Ohio handles congressional redistricting.  Under the current system, a simple majority of the General Assembly determines the new congressional districts by passing a bill that the governor then signs into law. State Issue 1 would replace the existing process by providing bi-partisan approval of a map; requiring compact districts; restricting the current division of counties into several districts; ensure a transparent process by allowing the public to submit a map; and requires lawmakers to host public hearings. Although state lawmakers will continue to control the map-making process under the new proposal, it will require a bipartisan supermajority and includes other checks and balances that guard against partisan gerrymandering. Vote Yes on State Issue 1.  It is a sensible, fair and positive state-wide change to the redistricting process allowing voters to choose their legislators, not legislators choosing their voters.   Earlene Kilpatrick, Executive Director Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce

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 to the building. The school’s many entrances make security difficult, she said. The kitchen is cramped, with insufficient electric, and the gym floor is no longer flat. Jeremy Koehler, the physical education teacher, said students trip over the uneven flooring. The heating pipes running beneath the building create uneven temperatures throughout the school. “There are days it’s like a sauna,” Daney said as she entered one room near the center of the school. But down at the far end of…

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 no to students because ultimately, a no vote against the consolidation of elementary and remodel of high school denies students and teachers a functional home to do their job; it’s denying present and future children opportunities because our current buildings can’t effectively accomodate the number of students. It’s denying common and equitable resources/learning experiences for all students. A YES vote is an investment in the present and future. A YES vote is standing in defense of our community. A YES…

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 pay off their buildings in 35 to 37 years. Conley, who is being paid $40,000 by the district for the year, said he is now acting as an overseer of school tax dollars. “I actually represent you in that regard,” he said to the audience at Conneaut Elementary to hear his presentation. Under state law, Conley said, the district can’t use income tax to purchase bonds unless it is in the state facilities program or exceptional needs program. Bowling Green…

Two Democrats vying to take the Fifth for their party

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News If either James Neu Jr. or J. Michael Galbraith would succeed in their bids represent the Fifth Congressional District in the U.S. Congress, the winner would be the first Democrat to do that in 80 years. And for 40 of those years, a congressman named Latta has held the seat, Del Latta for 30 years from 1959-1989, and his son, Robert Latta, for the past 10. But both candidates, as well as the incumbent’s two Republican challengers, feel Latta is vulnerable, and all for the same reason – Latta has largely been unresponsive to constituents’ calls to meet with him on a range of issues. (A story on the Republican primary race with challengers Robert Kreienkamp of Wayne and Todd Wolfrum of Middle Point, is forthcoming.)  Voters will decide on May 8. Galbraith said in a recent interview that “hardly a day goes by when I don’t run into a Republican who tells me something has to be done about our current representative.” And, yes, those are Republicans. Latta “does not listen to us,” Galbraith said. “That’s why I’m running.” Neu said that Latta has four challengers is a sign of the dissatisfaction. “He does not listen to them. That’s the main thing we hear from them. He doesn’t listen to constituents.” James Neu Jr. This is the second time Neu, of Perrysburg, has challenged Latta. He ran in 2016 and garnered 100,000 votes, 29 percent of the vote. Neu said the only way to unseat an incumbent with high name recognition is for a candidate to build their own name recognition over several races. He’s said he has people who recognize him as the candidate who challenged Latta in 2016. Such recognition, he said, is “surreal.” Neu sees himself as a representative of the middle working people. He works on the floor at the Chrysler plant, and serves as a union steward. He said he’s knows the dilemma of having to decide whether to pay bills or buy food for his kids. “I can relate to the average worker in the Fifth District.” He sees the tax bill that was passed late last year with Latta’s vote as “the worst.” People may be seeing a little extra in their paychecks right now but in three or four years those will be gone and “we, the middle class, are going to be paying for the benefits that the top one percent will be receiving from tax bill. Neu said he’s “a firm believer” that if the government gears tax cuts to the middle class, those people will go and spend the extra money, not invest it. They’ll buy appliances, or maybe go on a vacation. That spending will help the economy. “We want more money circulating in our economy to drive our economy.” The wealthy he said may put some into the economy, but much will go into “off shore’ accounts. Asked about school violence and louder calls for gun regulations, Neu said, that the first step is: “We need to enforce the many laws that are on the books. Those that don’t work should be fixed or gotten rid of. But “I don’t believe in arming teachers.” As a recently retired  as a volunteer with the Perrysburg Township Fire Department after 17 years,…

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

Bob Callecod: Parks levy protects precious natural resources, provides quality parks & recreation opportunities, and assists local entities

To the Editor: In 1986 I was appointed as a Wood County Park District Commissioner. At that time, the WCPD consisted of Otsego and Wm. Henry Harrison Parks and a very loose agreement with the County to “maintain” the Old Infirmary building and grounds.  Then Director/Secretary Lyle Fletcher and two part-time laborers were expected to maintain those facilities on a budget of about $60,000 provided by the County Commissioners. The entirety of the Park District’s equipment consisted of a beat-up pickup truck and a temperamental riding mower. On my first visit with Lyle to Otsego Park and the building which for many years hosted hundreds of family events, I gagged with the stench emanating from the inoperable restrooms; and nearly fell over when the railing on the stairs leading to the river collapsed when I leaned on it for support.  In the interest of public safety we closed the park shortly thereafter. Wood County ranked 87 out of 88 counties in the amount of land dedicated for parks and recreation. My fellow commissioners, Martha Kudner and George Thompson, and I realized that the only way to restore, protect and build on the natural and historic resources available to Wood County residents was to secure a dedicated source of funding.  That led to the passage in 1988 of a .5 mill, 10-year levy which established the WCPD as a viable entity. Since that time, two more 10-year levies have been approved by the voters and the District now provides and protects 22 parks and facilities encompassing over 1200 acres of precious natural resources. One of the continuing components of that original 1988 levy was the Local Park Improvement Grant Program. The Board felt that a program of assistance to local communities for improvement of their own park areas and facilities would maximize the benefit of the Park District levy for each county resident.  Since its inception over $2,100,000 has been awarded to 34 cities, villages and townships in Wood County. On May 8, the Park District is asking voters to allow it to continue protecting our precious natural resources, provide quality parks and recreation opportunities, and to continue to assist local entities in improving their local recreation areas by approving a 10-year renewal of the existing 1 mill levy.  This is a renewal levy – Your taxes will not go up!    Please show your support for our superb Wood County Park District by voting on May 8!   Bob Callecod Bowling Green

Scruci aims to bust myths surrounding BG school levy

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When voters go to the polls next month to vote on the Bowling Green City Schools bond issue, the district wants them to be armed with facts, not motivated by falsehoods. Superintendent Francis Scruci met with local media Tuesday to clear up some misconceptions prompted by levy opposition at recent school board meetings. Scruci said he didn’t address the comments at the time because he considers those gatherings an opportunity to hear from the public – not a time for back and forth debate. However, when some of those falsehoods were getting traction as fact, Scruci wanted to clear up confusion on the following issues. Income tax would be a more fair way to fund school buildings. That may be the case, but it is not an option under Ohio school funding law. “The county auditor has confirmed you can’t use income tax to build a project,” Scruci said. During the last school board meeting, it was suggested that the district had twisted those funding rules for the middle school expansion, so it could do the same for the centralized elementary school and high school expansion. But Scruci explained that the middle school expansion was paid for with permanent improvement levy funds already approved by voters. Permanent improvement funds are allowed to be used for anything with a life expectancy of five or more years. “I want to make sure people understand,” Scruci said. “It was implied we did something inappropriately.” Bowling Green City Schools did not turn down any state money for buildings. “It’s just false that we were offered state money and turned it down,” Scruci said. He considers this myth as one of the big reasons many voters cast ballots against the levy in the fall. Due to the increased property valuation of the Bowling Green City School District – with much of it being rich farmland – the district is currently ranked 520 of Ohio’s 609 school districts, making it appear the state funds are not needed. “Because it went up, it makes us on paper look more affluent than we are,” he said. “We are not eligible and have not been eligible for co-funding from the state,” Scruci said. The earliest Bowling Green might be eligible is in eight years, and that’s only if school districts in lapsed status don’t decide to get back in line. Yes, Otsego greatly benefited by 50 percent funding by the state, and Elmwood did even better with 80 percent funding. But Bowling Green isn’t even allowed to get in line yet. “Many people told us they thought we turned state money down,” he said. The school district should have waited to go back on the ballot, or should have tried a Plan B. Scruci has heard this complaint, but he has no reservations about trying the same 5.7-mill levy so soon after it failed last fall. “When we made this decision, we believed it was the right decision for our district and our kids,” he said. Trying a watered down version would send the wrong message. “It would tell people we really didn’t need what we asked for the first time.” “It shouldn’t have been a shock to somebody that we are coming back with the same project – because it…