Threatening to eliminate sports now a failed levy strategy?
One cold, snowy night last week I found myself listening to the screech and scrape of the snow plow while these midnight ponderings kept me from a good night’s sleep.
No levy, no sports, no mas.
The threat of eliminating sports to gain levy support worked so well for so long all school boards adopted it. That is, until residents of the Lake School District refused to capitulate during seven levy attempts between 2004 and 2006.
While the Lake board did not eliminate all sports, it did cut tennis and hockey. And, other schools fearing Lake would not have a football team scheduled other teams resulting in two shortened football seasons.
To support the athletic program, the board started charging students a $150 participation fee for the first sport and $125 for the second.
Still, residents said no.
What followed was an exodus. Lake’s athletic director Dave Shaffer recently told Press reporter Mark Griffin that 150 student-athletes fled to other schools.
Guess what followed them?
Lots of it.
In the 2006-2007 school year, for example, Lake lost an estimated $3,436 in state funding for each transfer. If all 150 had transferred in one year, Lake would have lost a total of $515,400.
Suddenly, cutting sports may no longer be an effective threat.
Fortunately, Lake voters passed the eighth levy request in August of 2006. Today, Lake sports is experiencing a revival. Participation is up by 57 students from 2006-2007 and three teams have won championships.
Don’t worry, be happy
Toledoans should be happy, according to a recent Forbes magazine article, which analyzed the country’s top 100 metropolitan markets. Forbes concluded Toledo ranked 32 among the nation’s best-bang-for-your-buck cities. Editors extolled Toledo’s assets such as a short commute time and affordable housing, fourth best in the nation.
The only Ohio city to rank higher was Youngstown, which ranked 25.
Think there might be something wrong?
First clue is that the best cities for affordable housing are, in this order, Akron, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Youngstown and Toledo. These cities all have high unemployment and foreclosure rates, which typically depress property values. Leave it to Forbes to twist this misery into a positive.
Probably, a more accurate survey regarding Toledo’s “happiness quotient” would be the “happiness survey” conducted for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That survey listed Ohio near the bottom at number 43.
Happiest states are Louisiana, Hawaii and Florida. Sunshine is the main reason, researchers report. Air quality, lower crime rates, low taxes and available public land were also cited.
So, how do I know this is more accurate?
Let’s look at a third survey. This one conducted by the Ohio State Highway Patrol which shows that Lucas County ranks third in the state for DUI arrests.
I don’t think Toledoans drink because they’re celebrating. I think they drink because of a high unemployment rate and depressed wages.
A man of his word
Much-maligned Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner only has a few more days in which to entertain his critics. But, while they’re railing at the outrageous things he sometimes says, they should also congratulate him on meeting his goals of paving 40 miles of city roads and exceeding his goal of demolishing 250 dilapidated houses.
The city this year demolished 263 houses, down from 306 in 2008. Demolition of these eye-sores and danger-traps particularly affects East Toledo property owners so let’s hope new Mayor Mike Bell can find some funds in the 2010 budget to continue the program.
Good humor men
It’s a good thing for Anheuser Busch that men have a sense of humor. Otherwise, how do you explain the lack of public outcry over the latest Bud Light commercials in which men are the targets of female violence.
In one commercial a woman uses a nail-gun to affix a boutonniere on her husband’s lapel. In another, a woman trips an inattentive waiter sending him through a plate glass window. In still another, a woman pushes a boyfriend she’s grown tired of out of her speeding car and sends him bouncing along the pavement
Reverse the gender roles and no one would laugh. Someone please explain that to me.