BG Schools levy

Matthew Lyons ‘yes’ vote for school bond ‘is based on weighing the pros and cons of the project’

Tuesday the residents of the BG School district will decide to move forward or remain in the past.  For over a year now we have heard pros and cons of the building plan and how it will affect multiple segments of the community.  While I sympathize with those who will be hit hard with this plan, I need to base my decision on what I believe to be in the best interest of my children. First, we need more space.  The average size of a kindergarten class at Kenwood is 17, at Conneaut it is 24.  That disparity should make everyone unhappy.  It also shows a major flaw in our current three elementary configuration.  The new elementary building would have an average kindergarten class size of 21 this year.  Evening out class size across the district leads to smaller class sizes.  Smaller classes lead to the teacher in the classroom having MORE time for individualized attention.  We can do better. Next, our schools need to be as safe as possible.  They need to be safe from those who might want to do our students harm.  We have the boot installed in all our classrooms, and this is a step in the right direction.  But this plan does better.    The new space would be built with required safety features as a part of the building, not as an afterthought.  After attending the building tours it is evident the current buildings were not designed with this type of safety in mind.  Our police and fire divisions have weighed in with support, that alone should be enough to warrant support for this plan. They also need to safe for everyday events like drop off and pick up.  Transportation and traffic concerns have also been brought up as reasoning to keep the current three elementary configuration.  I have observed children being dropped off and picked up in all weather, some coming from just down the street from the school.  Through our actions, the parents and guardians in this district have spoken.  And it is overwhelmingly in support of driving students to and from school instead of letting them walk or ride bikes.  The new building from design to construction will be able to address this and make drop off and pick up the safest experience possible. Finally, the largest argument for this project seems to be cost.  It isn’t a small project.  It could have been if past administrations would have addressed the needs.  But they didn’t, and this is where we find ourselves.   I do not have high school students. However, I did take the tour of the building and have talked with parents who do have children in that building.  We could drop money into our buildings and they could go another 20 years.  But then we would be back where we are now only dealing with an 80-year-old building.  That is a bad investment when the alternative are buildings that will address educational needs in the district far longer than 20 years.  I have been to the auditors website and calculated the increase for my family.  For the facilities we would get, it is more than worth the expense. My decision is based on the research I have done and what I believe to be in the best interest of my family.  It is not influenced on what is going around social media.  It is not based on what is fair, our reps in Columbus for the last 25 years have made sure “fair”…


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


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


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


‘Support the high school and elementary school construction projects’ – Mayor Dick Edwards

Dear Editor: Bowling Green as a city government and as a community has long been the beneficiary of forward thinking citizens and public officials. Wise investments in the past are paying huge dividends today and have positioned the city for an even brighter future. For example, Bowling Green has one of the best and most sustainable array of utilities in the region featuring reverse osmosis water production, extremely reliable electricity, and high EPA standards for sewage treatment. BG was the first city in Ohio to build utility-sized wind turbines. Now we have the largest solar field in Ohio: 85,000 solar panels producing 20 mega watts of power. We also have a vibrant, historic downtown business district, one that will soon feature at long last a public square, i.e., a gathering place, the Wooster Green. We have parks with miles of walking trails and features of nature, a nationally recognized garden park, a community center built on the principles of collaboration, and a water park overwhelmingly supported by the voters and located in historic City Park. As a university community, we recognize the importance and value of education. BGSU is investing heavily in its facilities, including those in its academic core. City-university relationships are being enhanced by mutually reinforcing improvements in the E. Wooster Street corridor, thus adding meaning to the city’s welcoming environment. The Bowling Green story is a good one, one that should be the source of pride and admiration by all its citizens with one noticeable exception: it has far too long neglected its school facilities. As Mayor of Bowling Green, I encourage and challenge all voting citizens to think forward from a total and broad community perspective about serving the needs for tomorrow’s students. Support the high school and elementary school construction projects on the November 7th ballot. Let’s be Bobcat Proud! Thank you, Richard A Edwards Mayor City of Bowling Green