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April 29, 2011
Salem News

Expressing support for United Local Schools

To the editor: Our first grandson is now in the second grade at United Local School. Just a few days ago he said he didn't want a new school; he was comfortable just the way it was. It was already like a home to him. It struck me that, at only eight years, Luke seemed nostalgic about and happy with his beloved school and the status quo. In our own ways aren't we all? We dislike change, especially when it might cost a lot and we aren't sure that the expenditure is either necessary or a guarantee that anything will be better. As an adult, I have uncertainties too. But, as one sage put it:?"When one's values are clear to him, it's easier to make decisions." For me, it's the future, guided by the past, that's most important. There are very few uncertainties, but surely change is one of them. Our world is moving at a pace we can hardly keep up with. Those who are not kept in touch with change will fall behind. Cutting-edge facilities and technology are no longer an option; they are either the path we provide our children or our children will not succeed. I also wish that the pace of change would slow; that we could go back a few generations to seemingly simpler times and less expensive options. But I also believe that we are deluding ourselves if we think that we can go back or that the present is all we need. Furthermore, we are penalizing our children if we pretend that what is past, or even present, is enough for their future. It was the great American cynic, Mark Twain, who is quoted as saying: "In the first place God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards." Sadly it is suspected that there are still many, even some of our neighbors, who continue to share this viewpoint. For whatever it's worth however, we don't believe Twain's characterization applies evenly across all boards. Take the United Local School Board, for instance. No matter our personal history with any of the individual members, we the people of the district did duly select out this group of five individuals members, from all the rest of us, to oversee, at this time, the welfare of our school, its staff and, most importantly, the children our district serves. We, the citizens then, owe them, at minimum, our attention. But, even more, we believe we owe them our confidence that, when reaching a unanimous decision, they have acted with integrity, studied knowledge and in keeping with their sworn duty and true convictions as they advise us about what they believe is best. After exhaustive work, and only after a number of prior boards had not agreed that is was yet time to build a new school, the current board has decided that, indeed, now is the time. The need is no longer deniable and the economic climate as well as plan developed are as close to ideal as possible. I would like to go on record at this time then to unequivocally support the levy that will be subject to each of our thoughtful votes on May 3, 2011. Attempts to listen carefully, try to remain unbiased and do what is believed to be the right thing have led me to this conclusion. As citizens of the district since 1973, Carol and I came from Detroit, Mich. and Painesville, Ohio, via both Pittsburgh and Alliance, to ultimately settle in the United District with our then 9-month-old son and first child. The water's been right and three more daughters have come on the scene since then. All four are now United and college graduates who, we can assure you, look back with fondness and deep appreciation for the opportunity to not only live with our great neighbors in the district but also to go to school at as fine an educational institution as this county, and this part of Ohio, has to offer. All this might sound like a lot of hooey to some but it's true. It's this simple and this difficult. We build our homes to house our families; we build our churches to house our beliefs and convictions about what is most important. We take on long-term financial indebtedness to insure both. Is the education of our children in contemporary quarters, with up-to-date facilities that are also safe and healthy, any less important when it comes to our long-term investments in the future of what has always been most important in this country? When we go to the polls on the 3rd, let's all try to be guided by two things: our comfort and immediate financial concerns, but also our long-term hopes that our next generations of Americans, will remain competitive in an increasingly complex social order and competitive economy. If nothing else, none of us should not miss the opportunity to register our convictions about this absolutely critical matter the first Tuesday in May.





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