Fourth-generation Heights family supports school levy
To the Editor:
I am voting for the CH-UH school levy this November.
In the past few months, I visited two schools, including the high school, and met with a variety of school administrators and teachers. I witnessed schools that were well-run even after years of cuts in operating expenses, limited payroll increases, teacher layoffs and the elimination of teacher and staff positions.
One of the primary concerns for me and for many in the community is the graduation rate. The graduation rate in 2015 was an unacceptable 81.3 percent. I observed special summer programs for seniors and others who were missing graduation credits; math enhancement classes to help [students] pass the Ohio graduation test, and the two high school programs that operate out of the Delisle Center for credit-deficient and otherwise troubled students. It obviously costs more per student to offer these enhancement programs. The cost is far less than the long-term cost to a child, and to the community of someone, without a high school diploma.
The school district has set a goal of increasing the graduation rate to 90 percent. From my observation, these well-run programs will allow the district to reach that goal.
Some opponents to the levy cite the benefits of charter schools. While some charter schools are well-run, many are not. One charter school operator, with a school in Cleveland Heights, went bankrupt. The online charter school, ECOT, received $109 million in state funds for 15,300 students. It is now being sued by the state because there is no record that almost 60 percent of its students attended their courses.
It is wonderful that the students residing in our district have choices as to which schools to attend. It is one reason why many families, like ours—our children have attended both public and independent schools—choose to live here.
Our district stretched the last three-year operating levy for an extra year, even in the face of millions of dollars of state budget cuts and declining tax revenue. I encourage those who are against or undecided about the levy to visit our schools and talk to our teachers, administrators and students. As a fourth-generation Cleveland Heights family, we ask our fellow community members to join us in voting for the levy on Nov. 8.