BOE member addresses United Local issues
To the editor:
There are just a few things on my mind I would like to share. I have lived in the United School District all my life. I am very thankful I come from a down-to-earth farming community with great people. Times have changed things. Some are for the good and some are not for the good. That is society. But the biggest fact about living here is that people care about one another. Because I care about our district I would like to share a few facts.
If you would look at statistics you would find that crime is low here compared to many areas. Our discipline problems in our school do not even compare to some in the this county because ours are so low. Our community is centered around the school life. We produce great children who go out into society and become successful citizens. Many have to leave this area to find jobs. But I think we can agree, overall, it is a great and safe place to raise them.
I have recently attended some events at the school. The musical "Music Man," the Show Choir workshop concert, National Honor Society induction, and the FFA Banquet. The musical was again a very wonderful production with a lot of talent. The Show Choir concert was totally outstanding, and the induction of NHS was one of the largest inductions that United High has ever had. We have a large group in FFA and many awards were presented to those outstanding students. Our kids rock!
The biggest problem United has right now, like all of us, and many other schools, is the dreadful word money. Our funds have drastically been reduced by the state and federal government over the last six years to where schools are hanging on by a thread. This reduction comes at the same time as many more academic mandates are being handed down. There has not been any additional financial help to go along with it. Therefore, like everything else, it falls on the taxpayer. We do not like this anymore than the next guy. But the one main fact still remains; "We will always have children to educate." It might be your own, your grandchildren, your neighbors children, or the one on the way. Someone paid for your education and mine and as a United Local citizen it is my obligation to pay it forward. The education of this community is on our shoulders.
Recently we have improved our reading program. This is due to the fact that our administration and board have allowed a literacy coach, a team of teachers, and leaders to receive additional education through Ohio State University (Literacy Collaborative Program) with Federal Title funds. This program is proving to be very successful and worthwhile showing significant growth.
Using the additional teacher training the program allows reading to span all subject areas as it increases individual interest reading. It consists of a number of elements that provide opportunities for writing and reading while using guided practice, leading to independent problem solving through demonstration and explicit teaching. We recently had a great number of students participate in the English Festival also receiving awards.
We have been able to implement laptops for all freshman and will be adding laptops to more grades next year. Our technology is steadily improving as the demand is high for all students to be successful in using technology wisely and skillfully in today's society.
The United Local Board of Education is asking its community to renew a permanent improvement levy from 1984. This is not a new levy. It is not the same one that was on the ballot in November of 2013. It is for monies that has been and will be used for items such as buses, building repairs, books, security, technology, etc. It does not pay for salaries or insurances. It helps to keep us hanging on by a thread and in maintaining a safe environment for the children.
If you are in doubt about our plea for your support I suggest you go to the school and attend a concert, a scholarship breakfast, a fundraiser dinner, or an elementary event, and see the excitement, the work ethic, the enthusiasm and talent these children K-12 possess. These children are worth it!
If you want financial information or reports ask at the main office. If you need facts on income or expenses, call the office. If you want to clarify statements or quotes, call the office. Get the cold hard facts of where we are. Do not rely on someone else to educate you. We don't call our neighbor to get our doctor's report! This renewal does not raise your taxes. It allows you to keep homestead if you qualify.
We have 13 regular bus routes. This money gives us a bus rotation, new windows, doors, security updates, and repairs for wings of the building that are over 50 years old. The community has voted down many attempts for new money. They want to keep the old and fix what needs fixed. That takes money. In a building where 3/4 of it is over 50 years old there are many major needs and upcoming repairs.
If there is something you disagree on from the past, it is in the past. Let's look to now and to the next few years and get through this difficult time together, not separated. Our name is United.
United Local School board member