SUPPORT YOUR SCHOOLS!
Vote YES for Issue 65
on November 6th!
Letter From Chrisy Siewert
Friends of Nordonia Schools
Campaign Chair for Nov.2012 Election
Written October 30th, 2012
The Friends of Nordonia Schools would like to thank all of our supporters who have joined with us during this campaign by volunteering for our knock and talks, helping with our mailings, making phone calls, talking to local businesses, volunteering in some way for Make A Difference Day, displaying our signs, or simply wearing a button or displaying a magnet in support of our schools. Your support means a lot to our cause, especially in this last critical week of the campaign.
We know that many members of our community may have already decided whether or not you are in favor of or will support the levy when you vote next Tuesday. Our hope is when you read this letter, you will have something to think about, and you will share with friends and neighbors why we feel it is important to continue to show our support as a community for our schools and our children.
Recently, the Citizens for A Strong Nordonia Schools has published some information in opposition of the levy. While we understand the position of the Citizens for a Strong Nordonia Hills Schools, we believe the issue of school funding is bigger than our school district. With 194 school levies on the ballot across Ohio this November, and 123 of those asking for additional money, this is an issue that must be addressed at the state level. This is also true of the benefits that our district staff is currently responsible for paying. The benefits in our district ARE comparable to surrounding school districts, and in some cases, they are higher than those districts around us. It is not a fair comparison to measure our district employees against the average insurance rates in the private sector. As in the case of any private sector organization, you want to attract and keep the best employees. Quick and drastic changes to compensation can drive your best employees away. As a mom and as a member of this community, I feel it is important to keep the best teachers here for our children. And without support from our state legislature on these issues, it is both reckless and unfair to make an example our school district, our staff, and our children.
Our schools and our students lost a lot in the past two years with the budget cuts that came as a result of many failed levy attempts, and we are now beginning to see the results of those cuts, with our district ranking decreasing from Excellent with Distinction to just Excellent. While this is still good, it’s not what we want for our children. The Friends Of Nordonia Schools has been campaigning in support of the passage of issue 65 because we feel that the district, specifically Dr. Clark and the School Board, has listened to the members of this community in bringing back what we feel are essential services, without asking for too much. Bringing back some bussing will allow more students safe transportation to and from school and eliminate the congestion around our school buildings in the morning and afternoon hours. Foreign language education is extremely important to our students to help them to prepare for High School curriculum and to be competitive with other students entering the same colleges as our graduates. Finally, the funds raised in this 3.0 mill levy will stabilize the financial health of our school district farther into the future.
We feel that all of these are important to the continued success of our students, and strength of our school district. If we are not focusing on passing levies, we can get back to focusing on educating our children.
On a personal note, as an involved mom of a 4th grade student at Rushwood, I have witnessed many of these changes first hand. I have been a school volunteer, and PTA president for the preceding two years. During that time, my daughter’s class size has increased from 22 students to 32 this year. With a more rigorous curriculum than ever, and with fewer teachers and aids, it is difficult for every student to get the attention he or she needs to be successful. Our teachers are being asked to do more with less every day. Standing in a parent pick up line at the end of each day to ensure that children reach their cars safely means less interaction with students who need help at the end of a school day.
The passing of this levy does not fix everything, but it is a start, and gives our children the chance they deserve to continue to thrive and grow, and will help to ensure the future strength of our school district and our community.
I hope you will consider supporting issue 65 next Tuesday, and please continue to talk to you your neighbors and friends in this last week before the election. Please don’t think your vote doesn’t matter. We need everyone to come together to show our support for Nordonia Schools and our children on November 6th.
Thank you for your time.
- Increase busing for K-12 students - Expand busing to reduce dangerous congestion around schools.
- Maintain financial stability to keep the focus on excellent education.
- Expand foreign languages and reduce class sizes where most needed.
In November 2011, our communities passed an operating levy that prevented a dire future for Nordonia schools. By doing so, we stopped drastic cuts from occurring. Thank you. It is now time to stay committed to excellent education. Nordonia Hills City School District has a 3.0-mill continuing operating levy on the November 6th ballot, and your support is critical.
Even with the 2011 levy passing, the district has 130 fewer employees than two years ago. District employees have accepted pay freezes for three years. These changes show how the district is doing what the community has asked and living within more limited means.
However, some reductions have been too much. This levy will restore key services. Busing will return for all students K-12 who live more than one mile from their school. Six new teachers will be hired to fill the most urgent gaps in quality education. The district will restore middle school foreign languages and reduce the most problematic class sizes.
Issue 65 will also stabilize school funding, keeping the district out of crisis and allowing educators to focus on excellent education. Funding collected from a levy remains fixed even though inflation increases costs. Inflation will begin to erode the district’s budget by the 2013-2014 school year unless a new levy is passed.
Vote yes so our schools can provide the education that our children need to succeed.