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Opinion

Norton resident supports bond issue on ballot

10/3/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

We’re at a fork in the road, Norton. As a community, where do we want to go?

We have a school building bond [issue] up for vote on the November ballot. We’ve been at similar crossroads before, with previous requests for new school buildings. Each time we’ve chosen to continue down the same path — to patch up our current schools with duct tape and a new coat of paint. Is that really the route we want to take again?

We’re a great, hardworking community with many things to be proud of. But if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit our school buildings do not project the best of Norton. They neither attract new families to the city nor serve to entice the best teachers and administrators to the district. They do not boost our property values. Schools are an indicator of a community’s health. What does the physical condition of our schools say about ours? They do not represent who I believe we are, but we have a perfect opportunity to change that.

There are many compelling reasons why the bond [issue] makes more sense now than it ever has. The OFCC [Ohio Facilities Construction Commission] is covering 51 percent of the cost of a new high school. The district has already purchased the land required for the school. [South] Cleveland-Massillon Road will be widened to approximately 10 feet from the east side of Cornerstone Elementary, making it a safety issue that must be addressed. The bond will allow the two oldest buildings, which cost the district a great amount of money in maintenance, to close. Even with the bond we will still pay among the lowest school taxes in Summit County.

The [Norton City] School Board was asked to keep the buildings downtown, in the heart of the city, which they did. Now it’s our turn to show how much heart the city really has. How much value do we really place on education? Do we want to hang our hat on being a school district that pays among the lowest for the education of its children, with buildings that reflect that? Not only would a new school be a very visible sign of our community’s commitment to education, it would much better reflect the pride we have in our district.

People have been talking about new schools in Norton for a long, long time. Let’s not continue down that same worn path. Let’s be remembered as the residents who finally took the fork, showed our commitment to our schools and our community, and created tangible change for Norton students. 

I hope a majority of Norton voters agree and will join me in voting in favor of Norton City School’s Issue No. 42 in November.

Jeff Nagle, Norton

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