Pay-to-play coaches
forced to collect
To the editor:
After reading several requests for a pay-to-play option in South-Western City Schools, I just want to present another side to the issue.
I am a teacher and a coach in what most would consider one of the wealthiest school districts in central Ohio. We have a pay-to-play cost of $50 per sport per season. Many times we struggle to collect these funds before the first game. And then, as a coach, it is my responsibility to approach the parent and athlete requesting the $50 be paid before the student can participate in an athletic event.

My role turns from coach to bill collector. While the pay-to-play option sounds like a great plan, the cost to students in this area would be about $700. Who would be responsible for collecting those funds? What would happen if an athlete could not pay by the first game? If students are on a free or reduced lunch would they have to pay?

Yes, it is true that there are several people in this area who would willingly pay the fee for their child to participate, but would there be enough to field a team? Finally, let us consider playing time. As a coach, I can tell you that I am sure parents would not settle for paying $700 if their student athletes didn't get the ample playing time parents thought they should be getting.

I know many citizens of the South-Western district are upset at the school board for not presenting this option. I also would like to remind citizens that we do vote on school board members. If you do not like the decisions they make, look carefully at the school board ballot. Those organizations that actively speak out against the school board should put their names on the ballot since they have the alternative to taxes. I think we would all like to hear more about that plan.

Sarah Browning
Grove City

Schools increase
demands on public
To the editor:
People want to live in Grove City. They buy homes here, not just because of schools but for many other reasons, as well. Grove City now offers many shopping and entertainment opportunities and is a complete community in itself.

Our city services are decent and the balance sheet for the city is strong. We have lots of activities for young people to participate in outside the schools.

Many people that I meet tell me they moved to Grove City because of the opportunity to raise their families in a nice community with all of these things and that they intend and want to stay here to live out their lives. They now find this prospect threatened.

I have been fortunate enough to know five generations of my own family that lived and/or are living right here in Grove City. We have made this community a way of life. I have to question whether this will be possible for other families in the future.

The new levy proposal from South-Western City Schools has been cut down to 7.4 mills ($227 per year increase on a $100,000 home instead of $254). This amounts to a 21.3 percent increase. (When is the last time you got a 20 percent raise?) This levy request does not expire as the previous one would have, however. This increase is permanent. When you look at that aspect, the fact that voters will not have the opportunity to vote on continuing this funding later if they pass the new request, it makes me realize that the board's reaction to our communities' continuing "no" vote was to increase their demands by the permanence of the proposed funding.

I know families that have moved from Grove City because of high taxes. I know many senior citizens who are being forced to contemplate leaving this area because of high taxes. The seniors in particular have my attention. Their actual living condition is determined by their income after retirement, not their "net worth."
They exist on Social Security and, if they are lucky, a bit of savings and pension. These people built this community. I will not vote to turn them out.
Even should this levy pass, it will not be the last. The demands do not stop, even though the school funding process here in Ohio has been declared unconstitutional by our own courts. Another levy or other school funding issue will come along. When are we going to say enough is enough? Perhaps a better question is, "Which vote in what year will turn you out of your home?"

Kevin J. Boyd
Grove City

Grinch's Vietnam
analogy absurd
To the editor::
How dare Grove City Councilman Greg Grinch say voting "no" on the school levy was an act of selfishness? He does not live our lives and does not know what each of us is going through or why each of us voted "no."

The act of selfishness comes from his not listening to what voters had to say in three different defeats of the levy. Comparing Vietnam to a school levy is absurd.

Tim Holstein
Grove City

Balloons, Tunes
event praised
To the editor:
There has been so much negativity and rhetoric flying over the past few months that I would like to turn to something positive - Balloons and Tunes.

We have always been fascinated by hot air balloons and have attended many launches in various places although we tend to jinx them with bad weather. Being the frugal person I am (translate that "cheapskate"), we have watched balloons launch from the roadside or parking lots in past Grove City events.

This year we decided to spring for 15 bucks ($5 parking, $5 each admission) and see what was happening on the inside. We were pleasantly surprised at the value we received even though only one balloon launched because of weather. We heard an outstanding Blues Brothers tribute band, enjoyed the balloon glow which was spectacular and got to walk around the balloons during the glow. I did not mention we had comfortable seats, with an excellent view. And, of course, there was food. We resisted everything except the funnel cakes.

While we did not have kids with us, we were highly impressed by the activities available for them. They were so much better than carnival rides because they required kids to be active. The climbing wall is the only one I can mention because I do not know what they called the others, but kids sure were having fun. There was an additional charge for this, but it was reasonable.

I wish to commend the city, (especially the Parks and Recreation Department), the corporate sponsors, and the volunteers who made this event possible. You can be sure we will attend next year. And if metropolitan Columbus gets wind of the quality of this event, so will a lot of others.

Frank Shipley
Grove City

Abatements hit
public, not schools
To the editor:
I read letters claiming businesses will not move here because of the failure of the school levy. I beg to differ. Businesses have moved here because of tax abatements.

Currently there are about $350-million worth of property tax abatements in the South-Western City School district.

In many of these cases the school district is held harmless. This means revenue lost by the tax breaks is paid to the district from other revenue sources. This means the taxpayers (you and I) are not held harmless. We idiot "no" voters can figure this out. I, for one, will be voting no until school funding is fixed.

Frederic E. Van Order
Grove City