It's not OK to vote "no" on Issue 51, the Upper Arlington schools operating levy.

To the Editor:

It's not OK to vote "no" on Issue 51, the Upper Arlington schools operating levy.

As a UA resident and district teacher with my first child entering the school system next fall, I want my daughter to receive the outstanding education she deserves.

My husband and I chose to live in UA because it is a wonderful community with excellent schools. We know the school system is a major reason our property values have remained high. Do you know why approximately two-thirds of Upper Arlington teachers live in UA? For many, it is so their own children can receive the nationally recognized education they know is provided in the district.

Opponents of Issue 51 have criticized the percentage of the district's budget that goes toward salaries and benefits. These opponents include a retired Upper Arlington teacher who apparently has no problem collecting her state teacher pension (earned while working for Upper Arlington schools) as she criticizes her former employer.

UA is one of 614 school districts in our state, all of which spend on average between 82-86 percent of their budgets on staff. Education is a people business, dependent upon hiring and retaining outstanding educators.

UA teachers voluntarily agreed to a pay freeze of base salaries for two years. Administrators also froze their own salaries. Employees of the district have been paying more in health care costs and our district was one of the first in the state to use a health savings account (HSA), another cost-saving measure.

Because of sound fiscal management, UA has actually stretched its normal three-year levy cycle to last five years.

A "no" vote on Issue 51 will hurt our children and our community.

Katie Benton
Upper Arlington