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Coventry resident urges no vote on bond issue, levy

1/24/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

After rejecting a 5.99-mill levy [and bond issue] primarily for a new high school in a special election held Aug. 7, 2012, voters in the Coventry Local School District (CLSD) are again being asked to approve the same levy in a special election to be held Feb. 5. Voters should vote no on Issue No. 1, a proposed bond issue and tax levy, for the following reasons:

• Coventry High School currently has 735 students, but this enrollment is projected to decrease to 664 students in 2019-20. Property taxes in CLSD are already too high. In 2012, CLSD ranked 12 out of 17 public school district’s Schools Taxation Rate in Summit County. Should the proposed levy pass, CLSD would move to fifth place, higher than many of our neighbors, including Green, Norton, Springfield and Manchester. CLSD is requesting additional revenue primarily for a new high school. Future school capacity is not an issue. Education is about people, not buildings.

• Property taxes are based on where people live, not where their children go to school. Over 30 percent of the students attending CLSD do not live in Coventry but attend schools in CLSD through the open enrollment program. Last year, the state of Ohio paid CLSD $4,256,096 to cover the cost of educating these open enrollment students. The state would not increase this open enrollment payment just because a new high school would be constructed. These students would enjoy the benefits of a new high school, yet their family’s property tax would not increase.

• Expenses for a second special election are not justified. Last August, CLSD paid $13,895 to the Summit County Board of Elections for a special election. The sentiment of the voters could have been determined at no cost had the proposal been placed on the Nov. 6 General Election ballot. Now in February, CLSD is spending another estimated $14,000 when the will of the voters was already expressed in the August election.

• Summit County does not need 17 different schools districts. Other states, such as North Carolina, have forced their counties to consolidate public school districts into larger, more efficient units. Consolidation would result in a reduction in staffing and a more efficient operation. If CLSD were to consolidate with neighboring districts, there would be no need for a new high school. As long as the voters continue to approve additional bond and tax levies, there will be no incentive to consolidate.

• As of this date, voters who aren’t directly associated with CLSD have received little or no information about this upcoming special election. The public deserves to be informed of upcoming elections in a timely manner.

For the reasons stated above, I recommend a no vote on Issue No. 1 on Feb. 5.

Melvin Vye, Coventry

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