2010-05-29 / Editorials & Letters

Writer says levy critic should complain to legislators

Editor:

I was disappointed to read the misguided musings of Dave Kenmir and his assessment of the educational landscape of Lakewood Schools and C-TEC. Considering his numerous misstatements, it’s doubtful he realizes that his “ideas” for cutting costs violate State and Federal education laws. Additionally, he fails to realize that schools don’t pay property taxes!

Mr. Kenmir also takes potshots at teachers and their exorbitant wages as the root of all evil. First and foremost, a school doesn’t exist without teachers. Teachers are an easy target because their wages do constitute the bulk of educational cost. Most people fail to realize the enormous cost teachers absorb to become and remain educators. A minimum of four years of undergraduate studies followed by licensing exams, continuing education programs and ongoing licensure requirements and renewals that are paid by the teachers, not the schools. Then there are the school supplies and numerous other materials that cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year that teachers purchase for the students with their own wages. Teachers do this because these items can’t be provided by the parents or schools since there is not enough funding to pay for them. Additionally, I know of no other job that would require me to directly manage up to 170 people a day who I can’t fire for non-performance, provide (at my cost) many of the tools needed to perform the work, grade all of the work on my own time after the work day -- and earn less than $50k a year after 10 years on the job. I’m not a teacher, but I appreciate their sacrifices to make a difference in the lives of students.

My recommendation for Mr. Kenmir would be to address his dismay over school funding with the people that make the rules, the State of Ohio legislators. In 1997 the Ohio Supreme Court ruled the Ohio education funding system unconstitutional, 6 years after the original filing of the “DeRolph vs. the State of Ohio” lawsuit. It’s 2010 and Ohio continues to rely on local property taxes to provide over 60% of school funding. All the while the State continues to vacillate on its funding share to schools for next and subsequent years. It’s easy to see why so many school districts are in financial crisis.

Schools don’t make the rules on funding, yet they are required by law to provide standard educational services without discrimination at an established cost. The cycle is obvious: better communities have better schools and the best schools are in the communities that realize the value of education. Someone valued your education, Mr. Kenmir, and endured its cost. Now it’s your time to support the next generation of students.
Robert Hartman
Liberty Township

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