I became concerned reading the Margaretta school district's "Save our Bears" brochure. There was no continuity of school districts between the four included charts. In one a map was used of adjoining districts with taxes based on a $150,000 house. In the next, other school districts taxes were listed based on a $100,000 house. The amounts did not break out the taxes paid for bond issues or income taxes dedicated to building construction, which are of a limited duration. in the "revenue per pupil" and "expenditures per pupil" charts, only schools were compared which show the Margaretta district favorably. I do not believe this is ethical. This levy deserves to be decided based on facts, not spin.
To get the facts, i accessed the 2008 financial data of all school districts adjoining margaretta on the Ohio Department of Education's Web site. i also included Berlin-Milan, as the Margaretta brochure did. I then compared these seven districts: Margaretta, Perkins, Sandusky, Fremont, Bellevue, Berlin-Milan and Clyde.
Margaretta is second among the above seven in expenditure per pupil, behind only Sandusky, and fourth in local revenue, solidly in the middle -- yet Margaretta states all extracuriculars will be cut if the levy fails. Why aren't the other districts going to their voters for additional taxes with dire warnings?
Passage of the 8.37-mill operating levy will give the Margaretta district the highest tax rate of the above seven districts, and probably result in Margaretta having the highest expenditure per pupil of all above districts. I say probably, because if the levy passes, Margaretta will get less financial support from the state.
One of the facts which never apears in print is the disregard for the residents of the former Townsend district. Townsend school, which has more usable space and ameneties, and is in better condition, than either of the three-story buildings in Castalia, was closed. Students are in portable classrooms just outside Castalia. Townsend, which will comfortably hold 425 students plus a large cafeteria, and a large gym with stage, is rented out. it seems the community that the board and administration are appealing to be saved is centered around the duck pond. Remember why Venice voted to leave Margaretta and join Sandusky? Contrast this with nearby Clyde schools, which preserved the Green Springs community's pride when the Green Springs district was annexed and is building a new elementary school in Green Springs.
If the Margaretta district fails, as the board is threatening, it will be of its own actions.
Chris Wiedel, Clyde
Margaretta High School Class of 1968