To the editor:

To the editor:

Some people have said that we keep giving away money to our schools and they never get better.

With previous failed levies and the resulting massive cuts, SWCS has not only managed to maintain a Continuous Improvement rating, but also has continued to make gains.╩SWCS now graduates 90 percent of its students and 60 percent of our schools are now rated Excellent or Effective.╩South-Western also scored 90.1 on its performance index, which has increased over the last six years by 18 points.╩

As an educator, I want to see Issue 81 pass to provide equitable facilities and opportunities for all students in the district and to allow our district to make even greater strides.╩But as the safety project director for South-Western City Schools, to be able to improve the safety and security for all of our students, staff members and visitors, Issue 81 is too important an opportunity to let fail.

If Issue 81 passes, the youngest of my three children will have graduated from SWCS and will not be around to benefit from any of the improvements.╩But I cannot pass on this "Chance of a Lifetime" because of what it will do for our community, with nearly $206 million coming from the state of Ohio's tobacco settlement dollars.╩Over $400 million will be infused into our local economy.╩Job opportunities will be created and area business will likely see an increase in customers and sales.

Please join me in voting for Issue 81.╩It's an opportunity we cannot afford to pass up.

Gary L. Sigrist Jr.

Grove City

To the editor:

The superintendent of South-Western City Schools wrote an article explaining the facts around Issue 81 dealing with the schools (The Record, Oct. 23).

He explained how we could get $206-million in tobacco settlement dollars to replace some schools, improve safety and security, update technology and provide space for all-day, everyday kindergarten. He went on about how it would be healthier for our kids and how this "other money" was needed.

It wasn't until the third column in his article that he mentioned the fact "╔ to lower the combined additional maximum impact to the taxpayer to $25 a month per $100,000 of market valuation."

That's not bad, I thought. But that's not it.

Actually, I live in a $300,000 home, am retired living on a fixed income, never had any children and now you want me to pay $75 a month "more" for new taxes for new schools.

Give me a break.

It's bad enough that I've just lost half of my investments for my retirement and my current retirement income is being cut due to the economic times, but now you want me to vote for an additional $75 a month, which is $900 a year, for new schools that I'm not even remotely connected to. So how many meals or medicine do I not get just so I can fork up the additional bit of tax money?

Maybe there should be a reprieve╩for the people who have no children.

Paul R. Bivens

Grove City

To the editor:

This past summer, the Grove City community welcomed a terrific educational opportunity, the Camp Invention program, into Buckeye Woods Elementary.

At Camp Invention, children in first through sixth grade were exposed to hands-on, inquiry-based curriculum that I am sure will prepare them for a lifetime of learning. The program focuses on science, math, technology, and the arts, but it does so much more. It challenges children to think creatively about problems and challenges, to be leaders, to be entrepreneurs.

Camp Invention is a program of Invent Now Kids Inc., a subsidiary of the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation. Our mission is to create and foster curiosity in science and channel that curiosity into creative problem solving through open-ended discovery.╩

I look forward to bringing Camp Invention back to the children of the community next year as we implement brand new curriculum and along with it, another great learning opportunity.

Lori Byrne, regional program manager, Invent Now Kids Inc.


To the editor:

I feel compelled to respond to a recent letter to the editor written by Heather Mazotas regarding South-Western City Schools' Issue 81, because the letter contained many blatant inaccuracies.

Mazotas said that her property taxes increase by $1,000 every time the district passes a levy. Information obtained from public records show that her property was being built during 2004, so it was taxed at a reduced property value. It was fully taxed in 2005 when construction was complete.╩Since 2005, her property taxes have increased by a total of less than $7.

If Issue 81 passes, it will cost property owners approximately $25 a month per $100,000 valuation.

Mazotas also stated that "the district received three times as much from the last levy due to reappraisal in 2005."╩Once again, this is simply false.

The district passed a 9.7 mill levy in tax year 2005.╩ Due to reappraisal and the effect of HB 920, the district realized a net gain of only 5.7 mills.╩The total effective millage rate in 2004 was 28.7 mills. In 2005, the millage rate increased to 34.4 mills.

As you can see, even with the passage of a 9.7 mill levy, the district didn't realize the full effect due to HB 920, which reduces the millage rate as assessed values increase.╩The district currently has 64.5 voted mills, but only collects 34.1 mills due to HB 920.

As for Mazotas's comparison in terms of property taxes to Dublin, Grandview and Upper Arlington school districts, South-Western's collection is lower than all three.

Budd Eversman

Grove City

To the editor:

Having failed to disclose to the public the full amount of tax dollars needed to move╩our library to City Hall, Mayor Stage has approached the Grove City Area Visitors and Convention Bureau and the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce with a free rent offer.

They would╩fill space that service and retail businesses are reluctant to pay for. If this is designed to be a publicly funded project, underwritten with tax dollars, then it had better be on the next ballot for the residents to cast a vote.

This project has pork-barrel written all over it. If it were a viable plan, then a developer would be footing the entire project and would have businesses willing to pay rent already signed up.

The focus for many╩will be on the presidential election and which of the candidates is the lesser of two inept parties. Others will focus on the school issues, which as individuals we will vote with our conscience, and with a measure of what we can╩financially afford.

There is a white elephant in the corner that will cost us many millions of dollars: the proposed lumberyard project, a tax-giveaway nightmare.

Does Columbus City Center ring a bell?

Warren Gard

Grove City

(Editor's note: The author is a past president of the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce and past president of the Grove City Area Visitors and Convention Bureau.)

To the editor:

I don't buy Grove City Council's argument that schools are the equation to attracting businesses and jobs to a community.

Grove City schools are very good. In spite of Grove City's schools, look at the kinds of businesses that have moved here: discount stores like Wal-Mart, warehouses, various small shopping centers, restaurants.

None of these pay the kind of wages that enables their blue-collar employees to buy homes and establish a solid tax base in our district.

It would seem to me that businesses even remotely considering coming to Grove City are largely looking at the earning and spending strength of the community and for the tax abatements they can negotiate; hence the discount stores, warehouses and restaurants. Taxing homeowners and building schools will not create a stimulus for the economy in our district.

The true path to an economic stimulus is tax relief. The greater the spending power households have, the freer they are with their money for necessities and extras. It's good for them, good for businesses and good for the economy.

Whether it's this district's school board or local politicians taxing money away from homeowners and households, the tighter they will draw their purse strings,╩which will result in spending less of their money for necessities and extras.

To continually tax their hard-earned income while giving tax relief to businesses is not only unfair, but it's also a moral crime.

Homeowners deserve tax fairness.

Terry Jones

Grove City

To the editor:

I'm a bit upset by the Oct. 23 article on the South-Western City Schools levy.

It upsets me that they are asking people to give up the things that they have, such as cell phones, to pay for this. Why should residents have to give things up and teachers struggle when the school administration makes six-figure salaries?

It seems to me that if we are going in debt then they are not doing their job and they are not worth the expense. People need to force the district to wake up and stop wasting money. When they stop paying these people that much while the rest are struggling, I'll listen.

When we vote no they just turn around and make another levy until they finally get their way, acting like a kid and throwing a fit until we give in.

The way I understand it is that the state will give the money either way. We just may have to wait a little time.

The only issue is that we have people on the board who don't know how to plan and budget. They have to have it right now or they are going to make us suffer.

Let's teach the board a lesson that is common knowledge: if you know you are running out of money, you prepare for it.

This is the same action those banks took that are now under investigation. Even though they know the money is not there they spend anyway.

Teach them a lesson and vote no.

Andrew Campbell

Grove City

To the editor:

Ballot Issue 81 is further evidence that Grove City needs to break away from South-Western City Schools.

Proportionately, where will the money from the levies and bonds from Ballot Issue 81 go? Not to the kids in Grove City. The tax base is in Grove City, but the building restoration needs are mostly in Galloway and the Hilltop.

It doesn't seem fair to our kids. Our kids deserve better.

Grove City is growing and developing and we now need to establish our own school district. GCHS graduates students who go on to Brown, Denison, Ohio State and other strong universities, and GCHS had the Ohio Teacher of the Year last year.

The potential is there. It's proven.

Besides, we have four high schools in one district. That's too many. Dublin has three, Hilliard will have three, Pickerington has two, and the list goes on.

The SWCS district should be split up.

Still, I am voting in favor of Issue 81 because I don't want to shortchange the Grove City students and teachers in the process. I believe in them.

Mayor Stage was right when he was quoted as saying, a city is judged by its schools. I agree.

Let's establish our own. John D. Metcalf,

Grove City