An public school insider's perspective

Between us, my husband and I have lived in many exciting cities, both in the U.S. and abroad. We are so grateful to have landed in the wonderful community of Cleveland Heights, with all of its richness, diversity, convenience and complexity.

Our family has been enriched by our use of the public schools, where we've encountered a community of interesting citizens contributing good to our society. By serving as good neighbors and using the public schools, we are investing in the future viability of this community.

Because we experience the public schools every day, we see the real, tangible work occurring within them, and we see beyond the state's very narrow definition of quality and success. We see all kinds of children learning and growing together. We've witnessed progress in many areas in recent years, and we advocate and work together for further improvements.

We also see that, in just two years, our new superintendent has listened to the community both within and outside the schools. She has enacted many important measures that will allow for continued improvements. She is striving for greater transparency, scrutinizing programs and spending, working to expand preschool opportunities for those in need, and working to more effectively address issues of equity.

None of the fine institutions that my husband and I have graduated from or worked for could have excelled if they’d been poorly funded and under-resourced. Like many citizens, I, too, would like to see a change in Ohio's unconstitutional approach to funding schools, which forces us to depend upon periodic school levies just to keep up with inflation. I will continue my advocacy for change at the state level and invite others to do the same.

I know that increasing taxes pose a challenge for my [family] and other[s]. However, I also recognize there is a very real cost to not supporting one of the most important institutions in our community. Steep cuts in resources will impair our district's ability to implement continued improvements.

For all of the reasons stated above, I'll vote for Issue 109 and I urge others to do the same.

Joan Spoerl

Joan Spoerl is an early childhood consultant, with more than 13 years of combined experience teaching kindergarten, Head Start, preschool and college, and is a proud resident of Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 12:19 PM, 11.01.2016