Created on Thursday, 31 October 2013 Written by Andrew Johnson, West Mansfield
On November 5th, you, as residents of the Benjamin Logan School District are being asked to approve a new emergency levy. I urge you to please read the following before you decide.
Back in May of this year the school put a levy on the ballot and it did not pass. The school, I am sure, was not expecting it to fail, however it did. Now the school district has chosen to come to voters again with a levy that will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $11.66 per month. This is not an overly burdensome amount of money. Until you look at the fact that most people in the district don’t receive pay raises every year and adding more to their tax bill would make them have to tighten their belts while allowing the school district to keep expanding theirs.
On Friday, the 25th of October I received “The Ben Logan Journal” in the mail. This is the first time that the school district has sent anything to the residents of the school district to let them know that they want more money. Yes they have had school board meetings and have discussed putting the levy on the ballot but to wait until 11 days before election day to inform the average voter seems wrong. In the Journal the school states what will happen if the levy fails. Student teacher ratios, extra and co-curricular activities and student intervention programs will be negatively impacted. But my question is how will they be negatively impacted? What is the student/teacher ratio now and what will it be if the levy fails and would it still be within state guidelines.
Extra and co-curricular activities are not so important that you have to pay a teacher to do it. If a teacher wants to coach a school team then they should volunteer their time and not expect the school to pay them extra to do it. This goes for the school board as well (each member is paid about $6,000 to sit on the board). Do it because you want to help the school, not because you want to make extra money. Let the parents of children that want to do extracurricular’s pay for their child to participate. It is not fair for the whole to subsidize a program that only benefits a few.
In the Journal they list new employees. One thing that struck me was that they have a new dean of students at the middle school. Why does middle school need a dean of students? Why can’t the vice principal do this job? This is just one example of Ben Logan over hiring. There are many more. The school states they have cut $1,500,000 over the last three years and they cannot cut more. In a recent school board meeting the treasurer said that the school would be $500,000 in the hole at the end of the school year. At the same meeting the superintendent stated that she wanted the board to approve them getting a loan to install air conditioning. This makes no sense. Such an outlay of money for maybe two weeks in the fall and two weeks in the spring cannot be justified. The thing you do when you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging.
This school district needs to learn that you have to make hard choices when it comes to money and you have to live within your means. I urge you to vote your conscience on election day and send a message to Ben Logan Schools that, yes you are doing a great job, but you have to stop digging before asking for more money from voters that cannot afford it.