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Coventry resident suggests alternatives for funding schools

2/14/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

Thank you to the 58 percent of cash-strapped taxpayers who voted against the Coventry school levy Feb. 5. Please write your representatives and senators, who were told by the Ohio Supreme Court in 1997 that the current way of funding schools is unconstitutional, and urge them to find an equitable way to fund schools. It is not fair for local taxpayers to bear the largest burden to pay for schools. School districts that have lower income from lower real estate values have less money for their schools than school districts with higher values. Many cash-poor schools are doing a much better job educating their students than higher income districts, proving that more money doesn’t mean better quality education.

The most fair way would be for the parents to pay tuition, the way daycares and colleges are funded. Another way would be for schools to be funded only by a tax on groceries. Families who have children buy more groceries and pay their fair share, and people without children would be paying a little, but much less than they are now unfairly paying by real estate taxes.

Several years ago, [it is my recollection that] Coventry Township mailed a newsletter showing that 60 percent of our real estate taxes go to Coventry Schools, 21 percent goes to the county and 19 percent goes to our township. If a township resident is paying $100 per month for real estate taxes, about $60 goes to local schools. If our state legislature finds a different way to fund schools, that resident would only be paying $40 per month and could spend the other $60 per month, perhaps at local businesses, thus stimulating the local economy.

As pointed out in [a] [letter] to the editor, about 30 percent of students in Coventry Schools don’t live in the district, so their parents aren’t paying Coventry township real estate taxes, yet those families are reaping the benefits. [“Coventry resident urges no vote on bond issue, levy” Jan. 24, 2013 issue.]

Coventry District Treasurer Aaron Butts was quoted in several newspaper articles saying that there was much deliberate misinformation about this levy. However, he was the one giving out misleading figures and never once did he use the word “more” so some people wouldn’t understand that this new amount would be added onto what they’re already paying.

Most people think that 1 mill equals $1 of tax per $1,000 of property value; however, the ballot in August and on Feb. 5 clearly stated that the combined two requests would increase real estate taxes by $0.599 per $100 of home valuation, not per $1,000.

A solution would be consolidating school districts to bring down costs for administration and eliminate the need for many buildings.

The only way our state legislature will stop being in contempt of court and seriously work on a solution for school funding is if taxpayers keep voting no on school levies and keep urging them to find a better way.

Pam Wayland, Coventry

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