To the editor:
I am asking voters in the Edison Local School District to vote with their heads and their hearts on May 6. I understand that any tax increase stirs resistance in our minds and our guts. However, the justifications for this levy, both financially and emotionally, far outweigh the concerns.
Financially, Edison has been reducing expenditures in staffing, building operations and transportation costs. Buildings have been closed, teaching and administrative positions have been eliminated and busing has been limited. According to the Ohio Department of Education's District Profile Report (available online), as of fiscal year 2013, 75 percent of Edison's teachers had more than 10 years of experience (far more than average), yet Edison teachers made more than $8,000 less per year than the average teacher in Ohio - $49,335 vs. $57,966. Not only that, but teachers also made $3,000 less annually than the average worker living in the district. Despite having a 20 percent higher property valuation per pupil than the state average, the property tax received per pupil is 18 percent lower than average-a 38 percent disparity and a reflection of an operating millage that is 18 mills lower than average (31 vs. 49.)
Unfortunately, after all these cuts, the district is at the point where failure to pass a levy will result in a deficit, and there is nothing left to cut but quality. I understand the frustration with repeated levy votes despite past failures, but the only other option is for the district to give up, eliminate programs that have made it successful, continue to see decreases in enrollment, and fail to provide a quality education. For me, it is unacceptable to let a great school system disintegrate, and it is clear I am not alone. During the past few months, it seems the Edison community has realized the significance of this levy and has rallied around the cause.
I am asking the voters of Edison Local to join me and vote for Issue 2, a 5.9-mill operating levy which will generate about $1.9 million in revenue annually. Importantly, this money will be used to restore high school busing and allow the district to continue its current operations. The millage is based on the 35 percent assessed value of real estate. For example, the owner of a $50,000 home would pay about $8.60 per month without a homestead exemption or $4.30 per month with it. Keep in mind that though the homestead exemption law has changed, anyone who qualified for the homestead exemption prior to 2014, still qualifies. It is only those turning 65 from 2014 on who are subject to new income limitations.
A vote for Issue 2 is a vote based on reason and passion, head and heart. The district has done its part to cut the waste, now we must allow them to preserve what is left. The staff has maintained a high level of education, and we must protect the programs that have been so successful.
Edison Local Levy