I have been reading the various letters and public statements regarding our recently passed school levy with interest, constantly looking for some mention of the issue I believe is central to this debate. But I have not found it.

To the editor:

I have been reading the various letters and public statements regarding our recently passed school levy with interest, constantly looking for some mention of the issue I believe is central to this debate. But I have not found it.

In my mind, the central issue for our schools today is a basic and important issue. We are in the process of answering the question, "What do we want our schools to be?"

When we were "prosperous," there was plenty of money for many services not really directly linked to the Three R's - transportation, cafeterias, sports programs, yearbooks, bands and music programs, to name a few.

Now money is scarce and the schools can no longer spend on many dearly loved programs. These have become "luxuries," if you will. Already we are having would-be athletes pay for that program, with parents and booster clubs raising funds to support the team.

Don't get me wrong. I know that sports and other "non-academic" programs may be the only thing keeping some kids in school, and sports participation may, for some, help with the staggering costs of further education. But our community, in its own way, is rethinking the place of such in the school budget.

Will Westerville wind up with a school that teaches only those courses providing eighth-grade literacy? Will we, as a community, decide sports are not crucial to education? Will we decide that a minimal command of English and math but not calculus is enough to give our students?

It will be interesting to see what Westerville decides the mission of its schools will be.

Theodor F. Herwig, MD
Westerville