I was very disappointed to read about the increase in the pay-to-play fees for Westerville schools.

To the editor:

I was very disappointed to read about the increase in the pay-to-play fees for Westerville schools.

By voting "yes" for the levy, voters were led to believe that sports would be restored. It seems parents should have been given complete details by the school board, so they could have make an informed decision on how to vote. But once again, the school board was deceptive and secretive, and after they received the votes from the parents and grandparents, they sucker-punched those same parents and grandparents with an excessive pay-to-play fee.

It is time for all of us to get involved, and speak out to the school board. Don't sit back and wait for our taxes to go up again, because they will, at the pace the school board spends money. Attend your school board meetings and get involved.

There would be money for sports, band, music and the other arts, without raising taxes, if the school board would stop its excessive spending of money we do not have, and adjust for the economy. Salary increases should have been suspended when we started the recession in 2009, but true to their track record, the school board granted increases. When revenues went down, the school board did nothing, except spend. Most of the people I know didn't receive any salary increases in 2009 and 2010, getting a modest increase averaging 2.5 percent in 2011. Our school employees received 4-, 7- and 10-percent raises. How does that make sense and seem fair to all of us who were and still are making sacrifices?

Most people agree that a good school system is vital for good home values. That is true; however, that equation includes real estate taxes. Once potential home buyers see that Westerville has the highest property tax in Delaware and Franklin counties, guess whose house they will pass up? Then what do we do? Lower our price, and lose more money. And now to top it off, our school is now rated a "B."

As the school board blunders and fumbles toward the next levy in 2014, we all need to express our concerns, as in the next few months they will negotiate union contracts. We cannot wait; we must state our expectations and demand we be heard. It is important that the union health insurance contract be modified to match what most of us have; the taxpayers can no longer pay 80 to 90 percent of the insurance premium, 50 percent of the union deductible, and contribute $1,200 per year to the union health savings account. In addition, the buyout of unused benefit time needs to stop. The policy should be "use it or lose it" and the amount of benefit time should be capped at the state mandated minimum (given the union track record in Westerville, they will use all of the benefit).

Start a neighborhood discussion group, and act on your ideas, and contact LevyFacts.com to learn exactly how horribly the Westerville school district is mismanaged. Please do something. They are taking away hope from many families. It needs to stop.

Vicki Stadge