School Levies…who pays

This is directed toward the Marietta City School Levy but it is representative of most school districts. Keep in mind school taxes come from Property Owners not Renters.

Three Letters to the Editor
Marietta Times

Now is the time to vote ‘no’ on MCS levy

Oct. 25, 2019
I saw last week that Marietta College was registering students and encouraging them to vote for the school levy coming up. I wondered if this registration included out-of-state students? If so, were the out-of-state students informed that it is against federal law to be registered in more than one state at a time to vote, and if caught, could lose voting rights for life?

How many of these students are ever going to help pay a cent on this levy? I was also told that some professors were telling their students to vote for the levy because it wouldn’t cost them anything. Now, to me this is stacking the deck. I have heard of taxation without representation; this is representation without taxation. After calling the auditors office, I was told Marietta College does not PAY ANY TAXES! You know what that means – we the property tax payers who are not lucky enough to be tax-exempt will have to suck it up and pay for probably the rest of our lives.

Stop and think. If you lose your job, pension, savings, Social Security, or live on a fixed income, that won’t matter. You still have to pay your taxes or lose your home. Think about that for a minute! We are talking 37 years, not just a few years. Plus there are already six levies pertaining to the school now.

Someone had written in a previous letter about how this will help low income students get a better education. How will this help an already struggling family when their property taxes or rent go up? Facts show that money issues add to drug, alcohol or domestic abuse.

A letter was written this week that again stated how old, outdated and “not in the 21 century” our school buildings were. If that is the case, then we should just start with a demolition of all of Marietta historic buildings, homes over 100 years old and all churches. I mean, if our schools have outlived their usefulness, well, so has most of Marietta.

I think some of these folks should take a tour to Veritas, which was the old Fairview Heights school; St. Mary’s Catholic School, which was the old Marion School; and Oak Grove Christian School, which was the old Oak Grove School. Tax payers were told that these schools were old, usefulness gone, too expensive to fix up. Well, look at them now fixed up; usefulness, 21st century!

Please tell me how they were able to do that without tax payer funds? I would like to know what their rating is. I bet it is not a “D” like our public school is.

One last thing that has not been addressed; the interest on the loan. We all know that the principal of the loan is only a drop in the bucket. What is the interest we need to pay back? Will this school, all said and done, cost us $100 MILLION or more? Once again, “It is not the building that makes the student – it is the teacher!”

Carol Pabst
[ Link to Original Letter ]

MC president responds

Nov 1, 2019
I am proud of and fully support our effort to register students and employees to vote. It is something we do every year, and we will continue to do so every year I am president at Marietta College.

Despite what Carol Pabst’s letter to the editor (Oct. 25, 2019) said about the College’s recent voter registration drive, we do not tell – or ask – anyone who registers how to vote. We do, however, provide them with information on all the races and issues they will see on the ballot so they can make educated decisions.

Marietta College’s Office of Civic Engagement (OCE) organizes the voter registration drive and those employees work directly with the local board of elections to make sure they follow all rules. Students who register can choose to register to vote locally with their current physical address or we will help them register to vote absentee at their family home address.

The election outreach work that is happening now on campus through OCE is part of a national program through the Campus Election Engagement Project in the run up to the 2020 Presidential Election. If students want to vote in primaries and be sure they are able to vote in the general election, getting them registered now is the way to make sure they can do that.

Simply put, we want them to vote and also have the ability to vote. Who they choose to vote for or if they decide to support or not a specific levy is their decision entirely. To infer that Marietta College’s students are not part of this amazing community is an inaccurate and uninformed representation of reality. Our students contribute a tremendous amount of support to this community.

Our students provide thousands of volunteer hours to the Marietta area each year. Our student-athletes bring the community together to cheer on the Pioneers to a victory. Our aspiring singers and musicians perform in a variety of concerts that are free and open to the public. A recent economic impact study conducted by the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs revealed that Marietta College had a $55 million overall economic impact and a $33.3 million direct impact on Washington County and Wood County during the 2017 fiscal year. Multiply that by the four years that each student lives in this community – and makes a difference in this community – and we believe they should have the option to vote in this community.

Over the course of four years, our students live in the Marietta area for 10 of the 12 months each year as they complete their undergraduate education. Many choose to remain in Marietta to begin building their families and their professional lives. There is no doubt that they deserve the right to have a voice in any election that affects their community. It is their civic duty.

Encouraging them to vote helps our students establish habits and values that will impact them for the rest of their lives.

I personally support the levy because I feel its passage will be a game changer for our community. Our students? Our employees? It is their choice. That’s why we encourage them to get out and vote.

Bill Ruud
President, Marietta College
[ Link to Original Letter ]

Vote ‘no’ to more money from taxpayers’ pockets

Oct 31, 2019
There we have it. At the Monday meeting of the Marietta City School Board of Education, treasurer Frank Antill said the school system is facing a continued operating loss through fiscal year 2024. He further states that his forecast assumes that funding from the state will remain flat and that existing levies on the taxpayers of Marietta will be renewed or replaced. So, lets just throw another 5.36 mill levy at the real estate taxpayers of Marietta to build all new buildings and solve our fiscal problems. Not!

The Marietta City School system has showed a steady decline in student enrollment. From 2003 to 2019 our enrollment has decreased by 600 students. I personally feel the main reason parents are pulling their children from the system is the lack of education their students are receiving. The current administration is inept and cannot figure out how to improve our state report card grade above our current grade of “D.”

The current administration has removed a Marietta Middle School history project because it was too hard for our students, even though other districts in the area still have similar projects. I won’t vote for another levy until the current administration is removed or they can figure out how to properly instruct our students. If they cannot get it done with their current staff, then they need to hire qualified teachers that can get it done and quit dumbing-down the curriculum to make it easier for the students.

Lastly, in a recent article, the superintendent stated we will have consolidated schools one way or the other. In the article, it gave us an idea of the jobs that will be lost by non-administrative personnel, but there was no mention as to the sacrifices that will be made at the administration level.

In closing, giving this administration yet more taxpayer money to build all new buildings and consolidate our schools will not improve the quality of education our children will receive. The same inept administration will be running it and the same teachers will be teaching, but only in a more expensive building with a prettier facade and newer smell.

On Nov. 5, vote NO on the proposed Marietta City School levy.

Thomas L. Bogard
[ Link to Original Letter ]

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