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April 29, 2010
Salem News

Improvements will continue with levy passage

To the editor:

In the upcoming ballot on Tuesday, May 4, 2010, voters have a chance to continue to make a change in our society. The Salem City Schools' levy is up for a renewal. The levy was originally passed in 2000 and passed again in 2005. Our school district has made much improvement in the past 10 years, and if you vote "yes" in favor of the levy, these improvements can continue.

Some improvements we've made are that two of our schools are now rated "Excellent" by Ohio's standards, and the others aren't far behind. We are no longer in a fiscal watch, which means that the state is now not watching our district because of financial problems. Also, the academic performance of students in the districts has increased 5.6 in rating to a high of 97.7 in only one year. In addition, new programs, such as nine advanced placement classes, the highest amount of any in the county; Seniors to Sophomores, which lets high school seniors receive college credits from Kent State University for free; Summer Learning Opportunities, which gives learning options in math, writing, and reading along with many others, are making our district better as a whole.

You may be saying to yourself, why does this situation matter to me? In fact, this levy will affect the future of our community. If not passed, the upcoming students will miss opportunities vital to their futures. The most important point we can make is that this levy will not raise your taxes. The levy is a renewal and will aid in daily costs for the 2,200 students in the district.

Overall, the money from this levy will only help in improving our school district and the students in it to be better than they ever have been. We urge you to vote "yes" on Tuesday to help the students in your area!



Members, Salem High School,

Student Council Executive Board

To the editor:

As the proud and involved parent of a third grader at Reilly Elementary School in Salem, I personally witness firsthand the daily challenges and demands that confront our administrators, faculty, parents and students, respectively. Due to continuous needs essential for affording our children the best academic programs available in obtaining a quality education, our school board members developed a comprehensive proposal of district-wide goals in 2009 that have fundamentally served as a defining blueprint regarding performance indices, financial stability and solvency, open dialogue and reporting with the general public, and student-focused practices that have all culminated into the Salem Schools rapidly moving towards attaining an "excellent" performance rating overall.

The District Report Card made available through the Ohio Department of Education reflects that our schools have made tremendous academic progress throughout the previous three years, and we continue to improve upon various factions involved with the daily operations of the district as a whole. Salem High School and Reilly Elementary have achieved the prestigious standing of "Excellent," while the junior high and Southeast Elementary continue on the verge of achieving this same status. Buckeye Elementary does not receive specific state ratings due to it housing kindergarten through second graders, but is directly responsible for the "developmental learning foundations and building blocks" which contribute to Reilly's annual successes.

Additionally, various program improvements have been added to expand and further challenge our students. Kinder Camp Readiness, Summer Learning, Camp and associated advanced placement courses, coupled with the Quaker Tech Academy and school intervention enhancements collectively provide the added incentives necessary in providing all our students with the skills for graduation and future aspirations.

Superintendent Tom Bratten, Treasurer Jill Rowe, and elected board members Steve Bailey, Brad Myers, Nick Bush, Jeff Cushman, and Andrew Null have selflessly and cohesively worked at monitoring all financial transactions, expenditures, and generated revenue, enabling the district to emerge from fiscal watch. This due diligence has further allowed our schools to move forward and remain a premiere learning environment for our future leaders of tomorrow.

This continuum of progress and success would not be possible without dedicated and caring administrators, teachers, parents, community leaders, and a general support structure that enhances the learning experiences available to our children. Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of watching several longtime educators, clerical and maintenance staff, and ancillary personnel receive longevity recognitions for their years of service to our school district. These individuals represent a small percentage of the professional and talented instructors employed by the Salem City Schools who reach out and positively impact our students and subsequent career choices.

Our district has produced a multitude of alumni who have become entrepreneurs, clergy, professional athletes, local, national and international business owners and executives, and influential leaders in our local area who attribute the foundation for their acclaims and successes to the baseline education acquired through the Salem City Schools. Current economic fluctuations reinforce that:

- a strong school district helps attract business to the local community;

- a strong school district attracts new home buyers to the community;

- a strong school district brings pride to the community;

- a strong school district helps our children compete and prosper nationally;

- a strong school district attracts former students back to the community.

Please join me in supporting all of the continuous efforts put forth by our school administrators and faculty by helping pass the Salem Schools Levy Renewal on May 4. Your vote is not merely for an issue - it's for our children and our future.



Salem City Schools Levy Committee



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