Why conservatives should vote for the Heights school levy

Why should political conservatives consider voting FOR the Cleveland Heights-University Heights school levy this November? Here are a few reasons why doing so is consistent with conservative principles and why I, a lifelong Republican, am voting FOR the levy.

Conservatives care about fiscal responsibility—and this school board is committed to fiscal responsibility. The district has negotiated hard with local teacher and governmental employee unions and limited their raises in recent years. The district has closed schools in the past decade to eliminate overhead. The district took the unpopular step of laying off teachers and eliminating teaching positions this spring to right-size staffing. It is clear that the district is committed to spending taxpayer resources wisely.

Conservatives prefer local control over governmental [entities]. In public education, Washington and Columbus do not dictate to our community—we get to decide right here what kind of schools we have. We exercise that local control by electing a school board to carry out our community’s wishes. Our school board has concluded that it makes sense to ask voters for additional operating resources through a school levy. I support that request from our locally elected officials who have closely examined the issue.

Conservatives believe in accountability. People should be held responsible for their actions—those [who] commit crimes should be punished, and governmental assistance should not be generous. It is fair for society to hold people accountable, however, only if society [gave] them a fair opportunity when they were children—and we do that as a society in part through our public schools. Our district provides essential programs that focus on at-risk youth—those [who] have made mistakes at a young age—and gives them real opportunity to get back on track. I support funding second-chance programs for our youth.

Finally, conservatives prefer policies that preserve the value of their homes. It is true that local property taxes can be a burden and make our community less attractive to some. But those same taxes support our schools and make them strong. And strong schools attract prospective homebuyers. Young middle-class families thinking about moving to our district might accept higher taxes, but they won’t accept failing schools. When we make our schools attractive, simple economics dictates that demand for our houses will rise and home values will be preserved.

For these reasons and more, I hope that my fellow conservatives and community members join with me in voting in favor of the levy on Nov. 8.

Ryan Routh

Ryan Routh has lived in Cleveland Heights since 1999 and is co-chair of Citizens for Our Heights Schools.

Read More on Opinion
Volume 9, Issue 10, Posted 11:58 AM, 09.30.2016