Upper Arlington

Retiree unable to support school levy

To the editor:

I have lived in Upper Arlington for 32 years. I have children who benefited from the excellent Upper Arlington schools.

I have supported school levies in the past. However, this time I'm going to say no.

As a retired individual who has not seen an increase in my income for three years, I am perplexed and troubled by teacher/adminstrator compensation that has increased by 18 percent in the last five years. The Upper Arlington school district must learn to live within our (the taxpayers) ability to pay. The future of the district is assured only if the district learns to operate its finances responsibly.

The levy requested must be understood as an additional levy, not a replacement levy. This means an increase of $178 per $100,000 of value for every household in Upper Arlington.

The current Upper Arlington school budget is 85 percent wages and benefits. Including salary and benefits, UA teachers receive nearly $104,000 a year and administrators receive over $158,000. The result is a cost per student of $15,172, nearly $5,000 more than Olentangy schools, which have the same rating as Upper Arlington (excellent with distinction).

Voting no on Issue 51 is a vote for fiscal sanity, not a vote against Upper Arlington schools.

If this levy fails, Upper Arlington students will still receive that $15,172.

Jim Hitt
Upper Arlington