Fred Van Order.
Fred Van Order.
That one name represents two men with two different views of South-Western City Schools.
"He's the elder of the Freds in the family," said Fred Van Order of Grove City, obviously the junior of the two. "This fellow here is top-notch. He's the man."
The senior Fred Van Order lives in Galloway. His granddaughter attends Westland High School. His father was the uncle of the other Fred Van Order.
They said the names can be confusing to the post office and telemarketers.
The younger Fred Van Order, who said he is more formally named Frederic E. Van Order, has grandchildren who attend Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Three years ago when SWCS raised a levy, Frederic E. Van Order feverishly did all he could to remove the levy from the ballot. He said he admits that he was a bit harsh, but he didn't mean any harm, especially to his cousin, Fred.
The other Fred Van Order.
"I have no qualms about what Fred is trying to do," said the senior Fred. "My only problem is the hell my granddaughter goes through."
Galloway Fred said his granddaughter was taken aside during class by her teacher and interrogated about her grandfather's involvement in anti-levy campaigns.
Only it wasn't her grandfather.
Fred's granddaughter was completely unaware of the reasoning behind her teacher's comments.
Frederic E. said he voted against the levy three years ago and plans to do the same this November.
The other Fred, however, said he voted for the levy three years ago.
"They scared me into it, I guess," he added. "I thought that if they did away with sports, my granddaughter would be devastated."
Fred said his granddaughter plays for the Westland High School softball team. She is in the 10th grade this school year.
Nonetheless, Galloway's Fred Van Order said he doesn't intend to vote for the levy this November.
"If he said he was going to vote for it, I'd drive him to the polls," cousin Frederic E. said. "If I thought money would solve the problem with the school district, then I'd say send all the money we got."
Frederic E. cited many sources for his opposition to the issue, especially a SWCS financial report for the year ending June 30, 2007. According to the report, actual state basic aid per pupil has increased every year for the past 10 years.
In the 1997-98 school year, the figure was $1,712 per pupil and $3,654 in the 2006-07 school year. Between 1997 and 2003, actual state basic aid per pupil went up 10 to 15 percent, except 1999-2000 school year, when it increased just 2.8 percent.
Since the 2005-06 school year, however, the figure has only risen by 0.4 percent and 1.8 percent in the 2006-07.
"In the overall picture, funding is up," Frederic E. Van Order said.
One of the biggest ways the community could get involved with the school district is to volunteer to help teachers in the area, Frederic E. added.
"In a heartbeat if a teacher needed something, I say give it to them," he said. "But they're hamstrung."
He added that his neighbor is a first-grade teacher and that he would do anything to help her, but teachers are prohibited from going to parents and asking for financial help. In some cases teachers only need some extra supplies, which he said his neighbor sometimes will purchase using her personal income.
Frederic E. said community residents can help the school district by giving more of what teachers need to do their job better, instead of raising taxes.