Friday, 17 October 2008 15:30
To the editor: Genoa Schools levy information - the facts.
The Genoa Schools finance committee thought it would be helpful to provide background to help clarify the upcoming Genoa Schools bond levy to construct a new K-5 elementary school.
Over $19 million dollars of state funding is available for this project because of a tobacco settlement. Taxpayers did not fund this state portion. The state earmarked funds from this settlement to upgrade school facilities, thus the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) was established. Gibsonburg, Elmwood, Lakota and others passed levies to secure their funding share. The Genoa Schools’ plan was approved by OSFC in December 2007 giving the district three opportunities within a year to pass a levy.
In March 2008, a 4.9 mill levy (along with the OSFC required .5 mill maintenance levy) to build a new elementary and high school was defeated. This summer, the option of segmenting (repair/replace only certain buildings) became available from the OSFC; however, there was not enough time to meet the board of election’s deadlines for an August levy. Thus, Nov. 4 is the third and final opportunity to pass a levy before the state turns the money over to another school.
The 1.9 mill levy (along with the OSFC required .5 mill maintenance levy) to build a new elementary school includes a credit for the previously constructed middle school. The effect of this credit is OSFC will be funding approximately 75 percent of the project (58 percent guaranteed OSFC share based upon the district’s property wealth plus the middle school credit). The 1.9 mill levy also includes high school upgrades (roof, electrical, etc.), but the core structure of the high school remains.
The levy cost for a $100,000 home dropped from $165.37/year for the March levy to $73.55/year for the November levy.
We hope this helps voters understand the basic information regarding this important decision.
Genoa Schools Finance Committee
Now or later?
To the editor: Nineteen million dollars are being offered to Genoa schools on Nov. 4 and it is up to the Genoa community to secure these funds and ensure a bright future for our kids.
This is the last chance we have to keep this $19 million in Genoa or this money will go to another school district. The levy on the ballot is 1.9 mills which is a small price to pay for a K-5 elementary building as this also includes many renovations to the high school and new bathroom facilities for the stadium.
Five years ago the EPA declared our sewage system at Allen Elementary not up to code and gave us 10 years to remedy the situation. Therefore we only have 5 more years that we can use Allen, barring running a sewer line from Clay Center to Allen at an estimated cost of $2 million to a building that already requires so many repairs.
The other consequence of voting no is closing Allen and having your children in double sessions at Brunner (6 a.m. to noon and 12:30 pm to 6:30 p.m.). What will this do to our children’s morale?
The building has to be replaced whether or not this levy passes so your options are to pay a little now or pay a lot later without any state funding. This is financially in every Genoa taxpayer's interest to say yes now.
Please vote yes on Issue 14 and keep the $19 million here in Genoa for our kids.
A great opportunity
To the editor: I am writing in these difficult financial times to the residents of the Genoa Area School District.
I served as your high school principal from 1986-1992. Since leaving GHS I had the privilege to serve as a superintendent in four different school districts. I helped provide leadership and direction in three school districts that have completed OSFC Projects (Marion Local, Gibsonburg and Holgate).
Genoa area residents have always taken pride in their schools and I really appreciated your support when I worked at Genoa. I would ask that you view this OSFC Program as a return of your paid state tax dollars coming home to subsidize the maintenance and construction of your community’s school facilities. The pride and morale of the community will swell with the new and upgraded facilities provided by this Genoa/OSFC construction project.
I have dedicated the last 11 years of my career to working with communities, school boards and the Ohio School Facility Commission. One big reward when these projects are finished is to watch the pride and behavior of the students rise to a new level as they appreciate the sacrifice that has been made on their behalf by the community tax payers. Teachers, parents and students most appreciate the new level of technology and security provided by these state-of-the-art school facilities. The vast majority of your school facility responsibilities will be eliminated for decades to come if this project is approved in 2008.
In conclusion, I ask you to simply make a financial fraction out of this opportunity being provided by the Ohio School Facility Commission and that ratio is 42/100. In the past, you have been shouldering 100 percent of the responsibility for building and maintaining Genoa Area School District facilities. I cannot imagine that our voters would want to pass up an opportunity to be compensated for monies spent on our fine middle school and to receive this new allocation of state monies.
I wish the staff, students and community success with this effort on Tuesday, Nov. 4.
It makes sense
To the editor: I would like to respond to James Hamilton’s predictably negative pre-election letter to the editor. He suggests that the Genoa school buildings are “perfectly fine.” I suggest he has not visited Allen Central lately.
Spend some time with our staff on “bucket patrol,” trying to catch all of the leaks. Spend some time next to our leaky windows on a cold February morning. Tell us how we can upgrade the technology without disturbing the asbestos. Take a look at the water from the drinking fountains before drinking it. Talk to the representative from the Environmental Protection Agency about the mandated sewer system repairs that will be needed. Allen Central is not “perfectly fine,” and the state money will not be there to help with repairs. They will only help with replacement.
Was our old junior high/high school “perfectly fine” when you, as a school board member voted to replace it with the new middle school? I am not criticizing your judgment, rather I am applauding it. You had the foresight to replace an outdated building and in doing so, generated a $6 million credit we will now have available if we pass this levy. If we do not pass this levy, much of your hard work for the schools will be wasted.
The state money that would be used if we were to build a new elementary school is from the Ohio Schools Facility Fund. It was created when Ohio decided to use its tobacco litigation settlement to build schools. The money is in an account waiting to be used and it was not generated by taxpayers. It only makes sense for us to utilize our share. If we don’t someone else will.
I urge everyone to go the last mile, utilize our middle school credit, take advantage of the tobacco funds and build a new elementary school.
Ernest E. Cottrell Jr.
Genoa School Board President
To the editor: Please vote no on State Issue 3, a proposed Constitutional amendment regarding private property rights in ground water, lakes and other watercourses. The Ohio Coastal Resource Management Project, a non-profit organization, opposes Issue 3 for the following reasons:
• This Constitutional amendment is unnecessary. The courts have made it very clear that property owners have a protected right to the reasonable use of the ground water flowing under the property and of the water in a lake or watercourse that is on or flows through the property.
• Property owners do not actually own the water beneath their land. They have a protected right to the reasonable use of the water (a natural resource) that is on or under their property, so long as the landowner’s use does not unreasonably interfere with the rights of other adjacent landowners. This property interest is subservient to the public welfare.
• This amendment might cause unexpected consequences because private property rights would not be limited by other sections of the Constitution, including provisions governing home rule powers of local governments, conservation of natural resources and the use of Initiative and Referendum for non-uniform rates for property taxes.
Vote no on State Issue 3.
President, Ohio Coastal Resource Management Project
Casting your vote
Bail out of Wall Street was sure to come.
With costs passed on to Americans.
They say it helps every one of us
With each passing day comes more disgust.
And now there’s a credit freeze.
Getting a loan will be no breeze.
Economy’s at the top of the list
When choosing a candidate
But really it’s all the same
Within the political game.
So when you are casting your vote,
Remember who is taking the oath.
What is safety worth?
To the editor: After much thought and discussion this summer, the citizens of Pemberville voiced overwhelming support of maintaining an independent police department for the village.
In late August, I was pleased to accept the appointment to the position of Chief of Police at the recommendation of council, the mayor and an independent citizens’ panel. On Nov. 4, you will see on the ballot a levy for the police department. This new levy is a proactive response to the changing economy and potential lost revenue to the village as industries close down or relocate. The total levy is for less than $100,000 annually or approximately 26 cents per day for a home costing $100,000.
Your support of this levy will allow the police department to continue to operate and provide safety and protective services to the residents of the village. Additionally, it is my plan to bring community policing to the village. Community policing will allow the citizens to take an active role in making the village safer. Community policing initiatives will include a ride-along program, a citizen’s watch program, a citizen’s police academy and a police chaplaincy program.
Before heading to the polls on Election Day, please take time to ask yourself, “What is my safety worth?” With your vote of support for the police on Nov. 4, my department and I can continue to provide every citizen the services you have come to expect and deserve.
Chief Richard Bingham
Village of Pemberville
Pushing for science
To the editor: I am a supporter of the COSI levy (Issue #37) and would like to explain why this valuable community asset should be preserved.
In order to get children of all ages interested in science, COSI is the best hands-on place in the Toledo area. The inspiration that comes from the minds of the children who visit COSI will amaze you as it does me every time I took my grandchildren there. We still want America to be in the running among other nations in science. In the 1950s, there was a big push for science to be emphasized and the push must continue in the 21st century in order for the USA to continue to mold the future for all nations.
A great thrill
To the editor: Sept. 25 was one of the greater thrills of the year when I attended the Clay High School Wind Research Facility wherein a turbine was hoisted near the soccer field on Corduroy and Stadium roads.
This science project was led by science teacher Dennis Slotnick who has brought together people from Sun Oil Co., BP Oil, Jeffers Crane Service, T.A.S. Electrical, a grant from the government through U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, the City of Oregon, Department of Natural Resources, Owens Community College and many more to make the project fly.
I have been interested since the early 1980 and have information on the S. California Field of Wind Generation from Dr. Mathew Isaac, a graduate of the Toledo University.
My hope is to see the other Clay High School students studying the project as well. Thanks to Clay High administration and to future students, we are harnessing electric power in Oregon on the Bay.
Robert L. Fondessy