Investment in the future
To the editor: Genoa schools have been fortunate to pass a levy, use Ohio School Facilities Commission monies (58 percent OSFC and 42 percent local monies) and build a K-5 “state-of-the-art” elementary building.
The new elementary opened in August 2011 with 628 students. The community, staff and students are proud of this new building and the up-to-date technology features. Students and staff love coming to school each day to this building. You can tell by the discipline, respect and excitement each and every day.
Woodmore students also deserve a chance to have a new building with the latest technology and learning tools. It takes a community to raise our children. Take the time to invest in your community now and vote for Woodmore Schools on March 6.
It will be an investment in the future.
Genoa Elementary Principal
As simple as that
To the editor: I raised three Woodmore alumni. I taught high school English at Woodmore for 24 years. In these years, I taught at least 2,400 students whose parents supported the whole Woodmore system passionately.
Please take time to tour the Woodville Elementary School now. Through the years, dedicated custodial personnel have gone above and beyond, attempting to maintain the present building. However, look up; look down; go to the basement; examine the gymnasium; go into the crowded classrooms; experience for yourself the substandard lighting. Open doors and poke around.
Educational methods are constantly changing. We can’t expect a 1923 building to accommodate the technological needs of the twenty-first century and beyond. The electrical issues themselves are staggering.
We need to start over structurally now to accommodate the needs of our children, our tomorrow, rather than dwell on increased taxes. Take pride in your community, your children, and your schools as past generations have done.
The heritage provided by our school district is strong family ethics underscored by a superb, not substandard, school system.
The State of Ohio will contribute funds to the construction of our new facility. If we want this money, we must vote yes now.
If we need a new school, we need a new school. It’s as simple as that.
If not now, when?
To the editor: “The Need is Real; the Time is Now” – that is the theme chosen by the leaders of the Woodmore levy committee.
I feel that this simple phrase sums up the situation very well. Anyone who has visited the outdated elementary school in Woodville has to realize that “the need is real.” I won’t go into the facts and figures expressing the need for a new school. Others have done this far better than I possibly could.
The administration, the Levy Committee and the Woodmore Board of Education have presented the need for a new building very well. While some may suggest renovation, I firmly believe that is not an option. The state will not provide money to assist with a renovation project, since the cost of renovation would exceed two-thirds of the cost to build. They will assist us only if we build a new building.
That is why “the time is now.” This money from the state is only available for a limited time, and should the March 6 levy fail, we would lose this money and the building will continue to deteriorate, putting the safety and well-being of our students and teachers at risk. We also run the very real risk of losing students to other school systems that have better facilities for learning. I might also ask the question, “If not now, when?”
I wholeheartedly support the March 6 levy. While my children both graduated many years ago, and I don’t even have grandchildren living in the district, I care deeply about our community and the children who are our future. I am a retiree, and a property owner, and I strongly urge a “yes” vote on March 6.
Apples & oranges
To the editor: The Woodmore School Superintendent and other proponents of a new elementary school building have been bombarding our communities with printed material listing “facts” and reasons as to why we voters should pass the levy to tear down the existing elementary building and construct a new one.
I applaud their efforts to inform the voters. However, the only “facts” we are getting are the facts that support their view. They tell us that the cost to refurbish the existing building would be around $12 million. They tell us that the cost to the taxpayers for a new building would be around $15 million after receiving $7 million from the state.
What they aren’t saying is that the state has a lot of say in what kind of building we put up. The state will not pay for a large auditorium like we currently have in the elementary building. Any time that you accept “free” money, you have to expect that there will be strings attached.
What all of this boils down to is that in another year or two, the school board is going to come to the voters again with a request for another $4 or $5 million in order to build a new “Performing Arts Center” (read “large auditorium”). The reason they will do this is because once they tear down the old building and replace it with a new “state-approved” building, the school district will no longer have a large auditorium.
The existing auditorium at the high school (I am told by school officials) is no longer viable to be used as an auditorium. Other “facts” we have been given include statements that the new building would be more energy efficient and would be set up for wireless technologies. I see no reason why those same advantages couldn’t be implemented in a refurbished building.
According to the architect that the school is using, the $12 million figure given for refurbishing would be stripping the existing building to a shell and rebuilding from there. I’m not sure that such a drastic rebuild is needed.
Another reason stated for the need of a new building is that if we refurbished the old one, where would the students go to school while that work is being done? I personally think this is the biggest hurdle. I would like to know if anyone on the school board has considered refurbishing the existing building in stages. The purpose of this would be to keep the project stages down to a size that could be completed during the summer while the students are away.
I feel that if the school officials really want us voters to trust that they are giving us the best bang for our tax dollars, they need to be open and honest about all of the facts, not just the ones that support their desires.
The difference in cost between refurbishing the existing building and building new facilities that will replace what we currently have will cost much more than the $3 million they are telling us. The difference in cost will be more like $7-$8 million. When they say only $3 million more for a new school, they are comparing apples to oranges.
Don’t take my word for it; ask a board member or the superintendent. Vote with your eyes open.
Park well maintained
To the editor: I would like to thank all the workers, rangers and volunteers who have kept Pearson Park so beautiful. The walk trails are always clear of snow and debris. It makes walking a pleasure.
What about the others?
To the editor: After the defeat of two special “emergency” levy attempts that cost taxpayers $8,000 to $9,000-plus for the elections expenses, we are now asked to pass a 4.33-mill renewal levy for the Benton-Carroll-Salem School District.
Because I don’t have first-hand knowledge of mismanagement of our B-C-S tax dollars, I cannot include it in this letter.
One thing that is public knowledge is what was found in the newsletter “The Sampler” – salaries of incoming administrators are frozen. The operative word is “incoming.” They happen to be Ms. Dewitz and Mr. Rhodes. What does it say about the other administrators? They can continue to give themselves raises as they choose.
The next school board meeting is Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. Be there.
Rural Oak Harbor
Editor’s note: Heather Dewitz and Steve Rhodes are new members of the board of education.
Informed decisions needed
To the editor: I would like to respond to the comments by Walbridge Mayor Dan Wilczynski. First, on the subject of pay for the village administrator position and Ken Gilsdorf, Mayor Wilczynski did not discuss the salary of Mr. Gilsdorf with council, nor had we seen a resume or had a chance to interview him. That is why there were two “no” votes on the motion for hiring Mr. Gilsdorf. If council would have been better informed, I am sure it would have been a unanimous vote.
In October, at the personal and human resources meeting, there was a discussion of a salary for a village administrator, but there was no agreement on the salary. Consequently, after Mr. Gilsdorf was hired to the position of village administrator and before final passage of the pay ordinance for the position, there was another discussion regarding salary at the personal and human resources committee meeting. The committee decided on the present salary and recommended it to council. At this point this was not a “pay raise,” only an amended salary for the village administrator. Council voted unanimously in favor of the salary for the administrator. Mr. Gilsdorf did not ask for an increase in his salary, nor did he agree to it. Council determined what it felt was a fair wage for a person with his qualifications and the duties and responsibilities for the position. The vote for final passage of this ordinance took place at the meeting at which Mayor Wilczynski was not present. This was unintentional; he frequently misses council meetings.
To ask Mr. Gilsdorf to develop a written plan on how “he” was going to regain the respect and trust of the employees was ludicrous. He did nothing to lose their respect or trust. This was council’s decision and only council’s decision. At no time did the mayor suggest pay raises to council for the employees for 2012. They do receive 100 percent health insurance and received a bonus for 2011.
Now let me state that council did not vote to pass an emergency ordinance for the regional dispatch grant only because we did not feel that we had enough information to do so. Since that meeting, Lake Township Police Chief Mark Hummer came to a safety meeting and provided the necessary information for council to make an intelligent and informed decision. I might add that there was a meeting in January where the parties involved met to discuss this issue. The only community that was not represented was Walbridge. If the mayor had attended this meeting or sent a representative, I’m sure council would have had the information needed to move forward on the ordinance.
And please, Mr. Mayor, do not apologize to the residents of Walbridge for council doing what we were elected to do. Making intelligent, informed decisions on the behalf of the residents is what I intend to continue to do.
Mayor’s motive questioned
To the editor: This is pertaining to a few comments made by the mayor of the Village of Walbridge. The first one was Feb. 16. He was referring to hiring an administrator and his statement was, “He will recommend a salary of $10,000 for the administrator’s position, which he believes is a two-hour-a-day job.”
Did this go through the proper committees? It should have gone through the finance committee and then to human resources committee, then back to full members of council for a vote.
The village had an administrator for the same job description for $49,000 a year, and the mayor now said it is a two-hour-a-day-job. If that is the case, then the mayor needs to explain why we paid $49,000 for the same position and job description.
We would still have an excellent administrator for $14,400 as council voted on. I add again, the mayor was out of town and council voted to have this wage. This council was representing us as they were elected to do. The mayor should apologize to the residents of the village for being absent from attending meetings half of the time. There are six members of council. They vote to represent us and that is what they are doing. They have the votes to accomplish the business here in the village and the mayor only can vote to break a tie. It is good to see that finally our council is finally voting on making the best decisions for us here in the village. They don’t need the mayor to apologize for doing what they were elected to do. I would also like to inform the residents the increase of money for the administrator was a vote of council, and the remark that the mayor made that our other employees were upset because of the increase of money for the administrator.
They all received a bonus last year; the fiscal officer $1,000, clerk $1,000, police chief $1,000, property maintenance and street person $400, street department (two) $200 each, full-time police officers (three) $200, part-time police (three) $50 and school guard $50. As a small village, we pay our employees a good wage. They also get great health benefits.
What happened to the promise of being a full-time mayor? It didn’t take long for the same routine of missing at least one meeting a month.
To the editor: The drawing of a “lighthouse” is just a proposal to build on the northwest corner of Navarre and Wheeling streets.
The city now owns the land and nothing has been built there to promote the City of Oregon.
The proposed lighthouse could be 12 feet high with a small pond and fountain in front, with a steel built walleye fish in the pond. Landscaping would be optional.
Keeping up with the Joneses
To the editor: Many people live beyond their means and have rarely had to tighten their belts.
Our voters should realize what they do have, and be thankful, at least compared to most of the poverty that the rest of the world lives in.
I want to retire and not pass a debt on to my children and grandchildren.
If a new school is built, will it be maintained? The old school evidently wasn’t. In the 40 years I have lived in this district, I supported numerous improvement levies. Why wasn't that grade school building maintained? The tax money was misappropriated and the school was neglected.
Those who think that property values will increase must also have believed that the turnpike would turn Elmore around and attract businesses. Drive through downtown Elmore and you will see vacant storefronts.
With the rising cost of gas, insurance premiums, food, utilities, and most recently house taxes, how much more can you squeeze out of voters?
Don't forget there is also another 5 percent levy on top of the 37-year noose.
Vote your conscience and not with the Joneses (like other school districts Genoa, Eastwood, Benton Carroll and Lake).
Good use of tax dollars
To the editor: The voters of Woodmore School District have a difficult question to consider on March 6.
On the ballot that day is a measure to fund the construction of a new building for the elementary and junior high students of the district.
The problems with the present elementary school building are well known. The board of education and superintendent have provided the voters with excellent information about the condition of the building. Those conditions demand action before there is a safety or health issue.
I want to focus on the information provided about the costs of renovating the current elementary building. The estimated renovation cost is in excess of $12 million. If this course of action were chosen, the district would also fund the renovation with a 37-year bond issue. That would make the building constructed in 1923 over 125 years old when the bonds were paid off. Is that really a solution?
I agree with the board’s proposal for a new school, built to today's educational standards, as being the better use of our tax dollars. Please vote on March 6 and please support the levy proposal.