My letter is in response to the letter published Jan. 14. It's a new year, but nothing has changed in the last five years for that author.

To the Editor:

My letter is in response to the letter published Jan. 14. It's a new year, but nothing has changed in the last five years for that author.

Five years ago, he was complaining because, in his view, Westerville City Schools was spending too much and its five-year forecast showed a deficit. Now he's complaining because the Westerville City Schools has been very cost-conscious in spending our tax dollars and its five-year forecast is showing a surplus. So, deficit or surplus, down economy or up, he complains.

What he fails to mention is that a surplus was not a given five years ago. Five years ago when the levy was passed, the school district was losing almost $3 million a year due to the drop in house prices, as well as losing millions in state funding.

He also fails to mention the $35 million less in personnel and insurance costs compared to the budget forecast five years ago because of teachers and staff retiring or leaving the district. The teachers and staff who remained did their part, taking a pay freeze, missed step increases and increases in their benefit costs. It's through these sacrifices and savings, as well as a recovering economy, home prices coming back, level state funding and careful attention to spending by the schools that there is a surplus.

He also doesn't mention that the school board has been able to restore busing to the 2011 levels, restore the magnet program, provide the option for all-day kindergarten and reduce or eliminate pay-to-play fees.

The school board is also looking to save us money by proposing renewal of the current levy. Without a renewal of the levy, the surplus will not last long, and another levy will be needed, but because of the state doing away with tax credits, it will cost us 12.5 percent more in taxes for the same levy amount.

Has that author done anything but complain in the last five years?

Well, he also led the effort to bring the school district to state minimum levels in programming, busing and maximum levels in student-teacher ratios by making an illegal attempt to repeal the wishes of the voters of Westerville and cause an additional $14 million in cuts to the district.

So the question voters will need to answer when the levy comes up for renewal is, do they want to follow the recommendation of someone with that history of complaining, or do they want to follow the recommendation of a school board that has been able to tighten its belt, restore programs and keep a surplus?

Rob Wesley

Westerville