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Coventry resident urges ‘no’ vote on school levy, bond issue

3/14/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

Vote NO on Coventry Local School District’s proposed bond issue and tax levy on May 7.

I attended the public meeting held by Coventry school officials and the school board on March 4, 2013. The meeting’s subject was to “... focus on how the district’s expenses may be further decreased.” Mr. [Russell] Chaboudy, superintendent of the Coventry Local School District (CLSD), spoke to the several actions the [district] will take (review?) if the May 7 bond and levy is not passed. He listed staff and program reductions, limiting busing, pay-to-participate fees and the closure of the Portage Lakes Fitness Center. The meeting brushed over the 4.89-mills, $28.3 million new high school requirement of the Coventry property owners.

The 5.99 mill [levy and bond issue] proposal consists of two segments, namely: A) 4.89-mill bond issue for 34 years to construct a new high school [and] also renovate, remodel existing buildings and B) 1.1-mill tax levy for 34 years for permanent improvements to the school facilities. There is no doubt the school officials want the new high school facility. The Ohio School Facilities Commission has offered an $11 million state aid package. Coventry taxpayers must raise $28.3 million, 4.89 mills, 34 years, for its obligation. Property owners do have the responsibility to support the causes of 1) permanent maintenance to existing school facilities and 2) supporting a high standard of education for our K-12 Coventry students.

What are school official’s strategies for approval of the levy?

Aug. 7, 2012: The voters will approve the levy because the state offers the $11 million grant package. Why would anyone refuse such a grant-in-aid offer? Proposal defeated by 151 votes.

Feb. 5, 2013: Get the message to the parents that the buildings’ conditions are terrible and need immediate and extensive repair. Why would anyone refuse to not have the buildings be safe and facilities not be progressive for the students? Proposal defeated by 392 votes.

May 7, 2013: The scare tactic, an “end run” around the real issue. Further reduce the administrative staff ... and stop some of the extracurricular actives. Why would anyone refuse to provide these activities to a traditional school system’s curriculum? Proposal must be defeated again!

NO new taxes! Education is about people, not buildings!

Let’s concentrate on CLSD students’ learning. The state of Ohio is implementing a new Common Core proficiency test for grades three through 12. The state’s 2010-11 achievement assessment tests resulted in a percentage of CLSD students not meeting expected standards in the reading and mathematics test, sourced by Ohio Department of Education. Are CLSD graduating students college ready?

Let’s implement strategies aimed at achieving an advanced learning curriculum that really works! A curriculum for the Coventry students that demands college entrance level standards for reading, writing and arithmetic. A curriculum to address new learning horizons outside the class room’s teaching and encourage students to learn through collaboration with family, business and community. Implement a vision for CLSD students to attain a unique identity, one that promotes trust, respect and responsibility.

Hugh Weinberg, Coventry

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