There will be no need for alarm from one local tax-opposed political action committee this November.

There will be no need for alarm from one local tax-opposed political action committee this November.

With South-Western City School district's combined bond issue and operating levy to appear on the ballot, some area residents feel its possibility of passing is somewhere between slim and none.

"This thing is going to fall flat on its face," said South-Western Against Taxes spokesman Terry Jones. "It doesn't have a prayer."

Jones and his colleague, Fred Van Order, said they see no need to get out and campaign against the SWCS legislation. They said they want to make sure voters are educated, and that members of the board of education and staff are honest about the district's financial situation.

"I just want accurate information coming out of them," Van Order said.

Van Order added that if political campaigns begin to bully voters, then SWAT will step into action.

Otherwise, they feel no need to get out and make too much effort.

SWAT members became quite active in securing about 4,000 signatures on a petition in 2005 to oppose new property taxes proposed by the school district. They were unsuccessful then, but success is already in hand this time, they said.

Instead, Jones and Van Order are looking towards the future.

"They're going to have to make cuts like we do," Jones said. "A lot of homeowners are in the red already."

Jones and Van Order said one way to "cut the fat" is for board members to stop pandering to the demands of the South-Western Education Association and start looking at the possibility of charter schools.

"The way the economy's going, school choice is the wave of the future," Jones said.

Van Order said the whole state will need to start changing the way schools are funded and operated. He proposed using the political muscle of SWEA to lobby at the statehouse for school choice.

"I think there should be a statewide push, once and for all, to get this fixed," he said.

Having charter schools would create competition in the primary and secondary educational realm. With such competition, parents could choose a fitting school.

Teachers would also be held accountable on a performance-based standard, rather than a seniority-based standard. They also would have to deal with less pay, according to the two SWAT spokesmen.

"A master's degree doesn't make you a good teacher; dedication is important," Jones said. "If (teachers) are so dedicated, cut the fat from their contracts. The big thing is that there are options."

According to information from the Ohio Department of Education, the SWCS cost per pupil decreased by 2.9 percent from the 2005-2006 school year to 2006-2007.

Van Order said he applauds board and staff members of SWCS for bringing the cost down. He said he would, however, like to know why SWCS board members have threatened to cut, or add parent fees, for extracurricular activities.

According to the SWCS Schedule of Revenues, Expenditures and Changes in Fund Balance, $1,578,716 came from local fundraising committees in the district for athletics and musical programs. The district spent $1,946,152 for the programs, showing a difference of $367,416 covered by the district.

"All I wanted to do was debate with them on financial facts," Van Order said.

Van Order admitted that recently he's been absent from school board meetings, but for a better reason than having debates.

"You don't want to associate with bad company, Fred," Jones added.

Nevertheless, the two SWAT spokesmen said they feel supporting local schools is important. Van Order said he regularly goes to a first-grade class to read to students in support of his neighbor, a first-grade teacher.

"I would tell anybody to contact their local school and say, 'What can I do to help you?' " Van Order said.