Letters to Editor
‘Uniting into One’
My family will miss watching the Winter Olympics on television. The images on screen and in our local newspapers often featured the flags of many nations along with their athletes.
Opening ceremonies always conclude with the Parade of Nations, a colorful display of national pride and unity. Such an honor for the athlete chosen to carry the home-country flag.
A flag is the most potent of symbols. The colors and design of a national flag tell a story, none more eloquently than the flag of the United States of America.
Our flag proclaims in symbol our national motto: “E Pluribus Unum / Many Uniting Into One.” In the red and white stripes are the 13 original states, now grown to 50, represented by white stars on a field of blue. (Note: Our current U.S. flag was designed by Robert G. Heft, a high school student in Lancaster, Ohio, as part of a class project in 1958.)
The patriotic message of the American flag is so powerful that even the colors alone stir feelings of national pride: red, white and blue. When I look around our neighborhoods and occasionally see a certain flag on display I have to wonder at the story it’s telling. I see a deadly poisonous viper, fangs bared, coiled and ready to strike.
If I wanted to design an anti-community flag I couldn’t come up with a better design to signify total disdain for the very existence of human society. I understand how the bearers of this flag want to assert their rights as individuals, but human beings do not live like snakes. Humans are social beings; we live in communities and unite to achieve common needs and goals. The rattlesnake flag is borrowed from a time and context in history that cannot be reasonably compared to our current circumstances.
As citizens of the United States of America we can remember and honor our past, but we must look toward the future, a future we must share with each other as “many uniting into one.”
Kathleen O. Webb
Path We Choose
On May 6, Newbury Schools will be asking voters to approve an 8-mill additional property tax emergency levy. Given that Newbury and Berkshire school districts are currently in discussions regarding the consolidation of our two districts, it is important to know how our levy and consolidation are linked.
If the emergency levy passes and voters also pass the consolidation issue likely to be on the November ballot, the Newbury BOE will, by resolution, collect the 8-mill emergency levy for only one year — calendar 2015.
The board will not collect the final four years so there will be much less cost to voters.
If the emergency levy is approved and consolidation is not approved, Newbury will need the five years of the emergency levy to remain fiscally solvent.
If the emergency levy is not approved in 2014, Newbury will be in significant deficit, Berkshire will withdraw from consolidation and Newbury Schools will not longer be fiscally viable. At that point, the board will have to decide either to follow Ledgemont’s path into significant debt or to close the district.
I am well aware that Ohio has put us in the place of having to fund our schools almost entirely on our own, and that higher taxes are a very hard sell. The hand we have been dealt means that the education of our children will depend on the path we choose.
I urge you to become informed and go to the polls on May 6.
Richard A. Wagner, Superintendent
Sarah LaTourette moved back to Chagrin Falls just in time to run for state representative for Ohio’s 97th District. She waited until 4 p.m. on the last day to file her petition with the Geauga County Board of Elections.
It seems she took her plays from her father’s playbook. He waited until there was no longer anyway for the voters to decide his successor and that decision was left to the GOP establishment.
Well, fellow Geauga residents, you do have a choice this election. Instead of checking the box for Sarah LaTourette, you can write in the name Linda O’Brien.
Linda O’Brien, who has lived in Russell for 23 years, is a true conservative. She has a master’s degree from Case Western Reserve in organizational development analysis, was a board member of Geauga Humane Society and was responsible for initiating the first large fundraising campaigns for Rescue Village, and served as a trustee of Red Raider Trails.
Linda was an officer of Progressive Insurance and for the past two decades has run a successful consulting company working with Fortune 500 companies.
Vote Linda O’Brien in the May GOP primary. She is a proven leader and runs on her name, not her father’s.
Editor’s Note: Sarah LaTourette resides in Bainbridge Township, not Chagrin Falls.
Put ‘Local’ Back into ‘Local School District’
I am a West G resident, have a son attending West G, pay West G taxes and vote in West G.
You do not kick someone when they are down.
The board has been mercilessly beating up struggling districts like Richmond Heights by taking 52 students and $296,000 in 2013, South Euclid by taking 50 students and $285,000 in 2013 and so on. We need to stop taking from these district and give them a chance to grow.
If Open Enrollment stops …
What about the current open enrollment students?
They can support their local school, simply go to a different open enrollment school or if they really like it here, move here. In this market, there are a lot of affordable houses.
What about our local students?
They will get back to all the things that make a local school system great.
Community support, pride and willingness to go the extra mile for our neighbors. There will be a 10 percent greater chance that my child will get in the play, be on the team, get an award and so on. AP classes and programs were here before open enrollment and will continue.
What about teachers and staff?
We have been cutting back for years and will slowly continue.
What about facilities?
Long term plans need to be started now, but there is no need to change a thing yet.
What about the money?
If open enrollment students do not cost the school district because they are filling open seats, then I want my child to be one filling an open seat so I can stop paying taxes. My child has more right to fill the open seat than someone from another district.
What about the $1.4 million everyone talks about, how can we make it up?
It is simple … we never needed it in the first place.
We have had a total of 790 open enrollment students in the last seven years for a gross income of $4.53 million. We had a $9 million carry over last year. So, without a penny from open enrollment, we still would have carried over $4.47 million.
What about the open enrollment parent?
There is no longer incentive for them to be involved in their neighborhood schools, to support their levies and vote for their school board.
What about the local parents?
I happen to be one who would no longer be bullied by whoever is dropping off open enrollment students and blocks the school driveway until they are good and ready to leave.
I will no longer see a vehicle drop off open enrollment students and then drive back and forth across the center line of Caves Road all the way to Mayfield Road while being distracted by something on the passenger seat.
I will be able to take my children to the library without worrying about harassment or profanity from open enrollment students waiting to be picked up after school.
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