Like most (if not all) parents with children in Gahanna schools, we vote to support school-tax levies every time they are on the ballot. Until the funding formula for schools is fixed by the state, we will support all levies. When levies fail, children suffer because of the slash-and-burn tactics that have always been employed, and good school employees with low seniority lose their jobs.

To the editor:

Like most (if not all) parents with children in Gahanna schools, we vote to support school-tax levies every time they are on the ballot. Until the funding formula for schools is fixed by the state, we will support all levies. When levies fail, children suffer because of the slash-and-burn tactics that have always been employed, and good school employees with low seniority lose their jobs.

The most recent levy didn't pass, as we all know, so now we all must face reality - that we are in untested economic times in this state and our country. This fact renders the old slash-and-burn strategy dreadfully out of date. This includes the bargaining units' strategies to demand letting go the 60 low-seniority school employees to retain the relatively high salaries and step increases of those with high seniority, compared to the average salaries of the rest of the community. Then come cuts to busing, arts, music and sports, followed by forcing our children into larger class sizes.

The school board and superintendent need to stand up and take radical action to protect our children and the jobs of the newest 60 school employees. They must demand and drive a new conversation via radical action to avoid this punishing strategy. This method destroys the school system, hurts the children, puts younger employees in the unemployment line, and is outdated. It must end now.

There is another way, and I recommend that all parents and supporters of our children press the board to do the following immediately:

The district treasurer should calculate the percentage of pay reduction on all school employees that it would take to balance the budget for the next school year.

The school board and superintendent must be brave enough to unilaterally reduce the cash portion of all salaries by the percentage to balance the budget. There should be no laying off of any employees, and all programs will stay right where they are. The balance of each employee's salary would be paid in the form of an IOU temporarily until a levy can be passed.

After a levy passes, then all pay could be restored to current levels, with back pay and interest. Ask all bargaining units to agree. If they don't, enact the reductions right away anyway and get an attorney to prepare a good foot-dragging legal defense until we can get a levy passed and pay back all of the IOUs. That sounds radical and it is, but our school system and our state are on the brink of insolvency and cannot pay all salaries in cash at this time. This requires new, bold, radical financial action by the administration.

I voted for this levy and the previous one and will vote for every one that comes up; however, we are in new times in this country, and new times require new methods. When those who oppose this idea sound off, all of those who support this immediate action should remember to use the words we always hear when we are asked to pass school levies: "Let's do it for the kids."

Ed Wingo

Gahanna