When we moved to Columbus four years ago, we were attracted to Upper Arlington by its beautiful neighborhoods, vibrant community and exceptional school system.
Upper Arlington is probably the best city we have ever lived in, and the district's enrollment growth shows that we are not alone in that belief. The district is one of the top 10 fastest-growing districts in the state, forecast to grow by more than 10 percent through 2026.
But this growth also provides challenges.
Some of the district's elementary schools are already out of space, and this issue will start to ripple across the middle and high schools. And our school buildings, which on average are more than 60 years old, are either nearing or at the end of their useful life. As everybody with an old home knows, just repairing starts to get very expensive.
Continuing to just repair and maintain the existing schools with their aging HVAC, plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems would cost us a staggering $188 million over the next 15 years. This would result in cuts to the instructional budget, which jeopardizes the quality and excellence Upper Arlington schools have demonstrated for nearly 100 years. In addition, elementary schools would need to start adding trailers to house their growing student body.
This is clearly not the right thing to do. Issue 43 provides a strategic long-term plan for Upper Arlington schools through a responsible levy, instead of irresponsible and costly short-term fixes. Voting "yes" on Issue 43 will help prepare our students, children and grandchildren for life after graduation with better science and technology capabilities. Voting "yes" on Issue 43 will also help maintain or even increase our property values.
I will be voting "yes" on Issue 43 on Nov. 7, because excellence matters.