Coventry district taxpayer comments on district plans
To the editor:
The good news is that the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) is offering Coventry Local School District $11 million. The bad news is that we need to come up with $28.3 million more to get this “free” money.
This reminds me of our recent and ongoing problems with the mortgage fiasco where people were buying way more than they could afford long-term. But they did it because they got such a “good deal” at the time.
The question is, can we really afford a $28.3 million ($39.3 million project cost minus $11 million in OSFC money) at this time, in these uncertain times? I honestly don’t think so.
We need to provide our young people the very best education possible, sending them off to productive careers that support our community. And for those going on to college, they need to go without having to take remedial courses.
We need to do certain things to assure this will happen. In reading the article “Coventry voters facing bond issue for new school” [South Side News Leader, July 6, 2012], it struck me that there were quite a number of things added that people want that don’t necessarily support what we need. Things like more parking and paving, new gymnasiums, outdoor courts, practice facilities, etc. These things are great items to want, but can we really justify a $28.3 million tax increase for these?
If the $83,300 median household value is correct (that was for Portage Lakes homes, not just Coventry), then folks will need to be kicking in $150-plus per year on top of what they already pay. Those seniors relying totally on Social Security got a 3.6 percent raise this year, the first in three or more years. A good guess would be that amount will not cover their projected $8.91 per month cost. This is especially critical considering today’s rising medical costs. When I look at my current real estate tax statement, I am already contributing 62 percent of the total to the Coventry Local School District. For me, this would add more and bring the percentage up to 65 percent of my total tax bill.
If the bond issue passes, I will be contributing about $4,600 to Coventry Schools. So, just like anyone else paying their fair share, I get to share my concerns about need vs. want.
It is good to hear that the increased amount will also help to pay down current debt and reduce maintenance and repair bills. The article suggested that passage of the bond issue would “save” about $600,000 and “could be used to save future jobs.” I’m not sure what saving future jobs means. If the savings go back into the General Fund, then it could be spent on anything, like wanting to have more administrative staff or things for that staff. Or it could be used to pay more for staff benefits, retirement programs, etc. More good, high-quality teachers would be great, however.
So, I simply submit that for my money, I think we would be buying a lot more home than we can really afford at this time, even with the $11 million of free money.
Dick Edwards, New Franklin (Coventry Local School District resident)
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