We have an Emergency Levy on the ballot on November 3 for Winton Woods School District. We live and work in the district, and our two children have both received excellent educations at Winton Woods. Everyone agrees school funding in Ohio is a mess. A school district like Winton Woods, with little industry, a transient population, and numerous racial, socio-economic, and special needs subgroups, is caught in the gap created by state mandates and local needs.
We are at a crossroads in the Winton Woods district. Three previous failed levies, numerous budget cuts, school consolidation, restricted bussing, and increased pay-to-play fees have yielded no solutions. The Board has tried it all, and I believe they have managed the money they have wisely. The last resort is the Emergency Levy---or ALL extracurricular activities will be cut. The doors to all school buildings will be locked at the end of the day. There will be no football team, no spring musical, no Student Council, no school dances...none of the things that make kids look forward to going to school.
Sure, the kids will survive. Maybe we "give" them too much anyhow. However, for many kids at Winton Woods, the clubs and teams are a "safe haven"...a place where someone cares about them. I shudder to think how these kids will spend their afternoons and evenings without the added structure offered by coaches, mentors, and club advisors. Maybe if the parents rent an apartment, the lucky ones will pack up and move to other school districts where they can find outlets for their talents and abilities. Most of those who own homes, however, will be unable to move. Who will buy a house in a school district that offers only the basics? Why not choose a neighborhood down the street where the school offers all kinds of "extra" activities?
I hope the residents of Winton Woods School District realize the effect on their property values of another failed levy. Budgets are tight for everyone. School levies are expensive. But raising kids in a community that focuses not only education, but also on raising the "whole child" is priceless.