UL Levy

Dear Editor,

Citizens of the Union Local School District:

I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and appreciation for the many voters that supported our district’s attempt at an innovative earned income tax as a way of funding permanent improvements in our district.

Your support is vital to the success of our district. I want to thank the members of the campaign committee that put in time to plan and promote the issue. To those who chose not to support the district I offer my respect for the democratic process of elections and your right to oppose this issue.

For good or bad, public education relies on the taxpayers for support of their operations. It’s no secret that for over twenty years the governor and state legislature has blatantly ignored the ruling of the Ohio Supreme Court that found that Ohio’s system of school funding is unconstitutional. If you or I ignore a judge’s ruling, we are found to be in violation and sent to jail.

Our governor and elected law makers continue to get paid and worse yet, reelected. It’s easy for politicians to give meaningless sound-bites on the issue of education nobody holds them accountable.

These same law makers and governor then proceed to systematically dismantle public education through layers of testing, curriculum mandates, and cumbersome teacher evaluations while at the same time sending millions of taxpayer dollars to low performing and mismanaged charter schools and private schools. Public education continues to be the best value on the market.

No Board of Education wants to ask taxpayers to pay more. However the reality is that there is no other option under the current system. At Union Local our Board opted to try the earned income tax to shift the burden from homeowners to those currently working in the workforce. This would have protected our senior citizens while at the same time allowing us to receive dollars from the many part-year residents working in the oil and gas industry many who send their children to our schools while making no investment in our district. I’m disappointed in the outcome.

No revenue initiative is perfect. I applaud the approach taken by our Board and I apologize to the residents of our district for falling short in delivering this much needed issue to our district. We have outstanding students, an overall outstanding staff, and a great community to raise children the administration and the Board will reevaluate our options and we will make the adjustments necessary to ensure that we continue to provide the educational services that our community expects.

The Union Local Jets will continue to fly high and proud.

Doug Thoburn