Original Article Source: Cleveland Real Estate Blog
The Brecksville-Broadview Heights Central School District (BBHCSD) levy proposal will be on the May 3rd, 2011 ballot so please vote to pass the levy.
I highly encourage everyone to PASS this levy.
Why should it be passed? The short answer is that additional cuts will be made to educational offerings if it does not pass.
In general, I am not a fan of increased taxes in these economically strapped times we all live in (I am self-employed so I pay not only my share of Medicare and Social Security taxes, I also pay my employer's share as I am the employer as well, as an Independent Contractor), so I totally get the whole "expenses" thing. I have to understand and track expenses in detail in order to stay in business as a small business owner.
That said, I also know that my two kids in this school system as well as every other kid in our district deserves the best possible education our community can deliver.
Instead of debating things from the left or right, which usually seem to take place when it comes to taxes, I'm going to use my own child as an example to hopefully drive home my point, as at the end of the day, it is the children in our community that we are talking about, and they have no voice when it comes to voting, so in my book, they are the silent majority here.
Our daughter is a freshman at the high school, and between last year and this year, she has:
- Just two weekends ago, she won 1st place in the entire State of Ohio as a Novice debater in the State Debate Championships. The support she received from the school was tremendous, and played a large part in helping her as a first year debater. As a freshman, she was competing against the best high school kids in the State, with many of these kids being Juniors and Seniors. That is quite a feat for a freshman kid (who also happens to be one of the youngest in her class). Bottom line here: There was some funding available to help with this program. I would sure hate to see it be considered a potential line-item on the chopping block should the levy fail.
- Last month, our daughter also was selected by her Debate Team Coach to represent the high school in the State-wide finals for ALL debaters (not just novices), and she placed in the preliminary rounds to advance to the semi-finals. She placed in the semi-finals, and advanced to the finals, where she placed 16th out of over 150 kids (many of them Juniors and Seniors who have been debating for 2-4 years, while our daughter is a Freshman and is in her first year of debating). She is the first kid from BBHCSD to make it to the final round, let alone placing very high in the final standings. This would not have been possible by a huge commitment from both the school, and numerous parent volunteers.
Note: Now then...if she could leave her debate skills at school and not bring them home, that would be a huge plus for me! :)
- The BBHCSD has an exceptionally strong music program. Our daughter picked up a viola during the intro session in 4th grade and said she liked it and wanted to play it. After years of private lessons and a ton of hard work by her, she tried out and was selected into the Northeast Ohio Regional Youth Orchestra (as a freshman) where most kids are Juniors and Seniors. While we obviously give her a ton of credit for dedicating herself to learning this wonderful instrument, I doubt she would be where she is today without an immense amount of financial support the school system provides for it's highly regarded music program. Don't take my word for it, go listen to the Chamber Orchestra and see for yourself, or go to a Friday night football game and listen to the massive and equally impressive marching band. Again, I would sure hate to see program offerings curtailed.
- Honors and AP classes. Our daughter is also taking almost all "honors" (advanced) classes in Math, Biology, and English. The plan is to reduce the science labs if the levy doesn't pass and perhaps even re-evaluate the ability to continue with some Advanced Placement (AP) classes where college credit is earned. Her goal is to take as many AP classes as she can so she can skip a year of college. She wants to take enough math where she has completed the Calculus series so she can skip the first year of Calculus in college. The cost savings to us as her parents of potentially eliminating one year of college is HUGE. If the labs get curtailed, a potential reduction in certain AP classes, etc., would be a shame for those capable and driven students who want to excel in school.
- Our daughter was on the "Power of the Pen" creative writing team for two years while at the middle school and last year they placed 2nd in the State of Ohio. I read some of the stories that these middle school kids wrote. You would be amazed. Given a topic and 15 minutes to create a piece of work is no small feat. Supporting academic programs like this is crucial to unleashing the potential that exists within our kids.
I could go on with other examples, but this is a post and is long enough already. Even before we had kids of our own, we always supported fully funding our local education system.
If you don't think this levy matters -- go tell that to my kid whose dreams and ambitions will be much harder to realize potentially if it doesn't pass.
Here is a bit of background info if you want some specifics on why our local schools depend on local funding:
- Nearly 75% of funding is received from the local property tax.
- By law, levy funding is fixed and does not increase with property values or inflation.
- Schools must respond to annual cost increases associated with utilities, health care, and state and federal mandates.
- Expenses currently exceed funding in more than 80% of Ohio's public school districts.
- Underfunded state and federal mandates like "No Child Left Behind" increase local taxpayer burden.
- State and federal funding have decreased since 2008 and will continue to decline.
Did you know...That BBHCSD is just 1 of 18 districts in Ohio rated "Excellent" for the past 11 years?
Did you know...BBHCSD has the 8th-lowest effective tax rate of the 31 Cuyahoga County districts.
Did you know...the proposed 5.3 mill levy will keep our effective tax rate in the bottom half (assumes pending issues on the May 3 ballot receive voter approval).
Did you know...the voter-approved 2004 levy has lasted more than 7 years.
Did you know...Our children excelled in 2010...:
- Seniors were offered more than $10 million in college scholarships.
- 69% of our AP students earned college credit, saving their parents over $400,000.
- Our middle school Power of the Pen creative writing team placed 2nd in the state of Ohio.
Want to know more about the levy? How you can help? Please visit the Support BBH website.