With state funding for
public education, per district, having decreased, local funding has become ever more important in maintaining the quality of our schools.
With that the context, if the citizens within the Kent School District want to keep their school system's excellent quality, a YES vote on Issue 8 next Tuesday, May 7, for the 8.9-mill levy for Kent schools is well advised.
Its having recently obtained an Excellent with Distinction rating by the Ohio Department of Education impressively demonstrates that Kent schools provide top notch programming in a district, which is one of broad diversity. Students in the Kent schools enjoy many opportunities to grow and achieve success. That is why so many families with children choose the Kent community as the place to raise their children.
The result is a community in which housing values remains reliable and solid for home owners. Homes that go up for sale in Kent do not remain on the market for long because parents who want the best for their children so often choose to locate in Kent.
Kent schools have continued their record of excellence, actually improving on state testing scores, despite having suffered significant decreases in state funding, which in recent years amounts to as much as $2.3 million. The schools have scrutinized every expense, cutting here, cutting there, seeking less costly alternatives, staff members freezing wages, but the school system nevertheless always focused on maintaining quality.
Unfortunately options for funding excellence are running out. After 1976, when House Bill 920 went into effect, voted millage could no longer yield more revenues when property values would go up. Instead, the effective millage must drop so that the yields remain the same. This is forcing district after district throughout the state of Ohio to ask voters for greater support far more often than they would like and such is the case in the Kent City School District.
When Kent voters seven years ago approved an operating levy, the projections were that the school district would have to seek another levy within four years unless state funding increased. Instead of increases, funding from Columbus has dropped. Despite that, careful management and sacrifices by staff and faculty, have somehow kept quality excellent.
It is unrealistic to expect Kent Schools to keep pulling the proverbial rabbit out of the hat. It's time for the voters to step up to the plate and vote YES on Issue 8, to keep Kent Schools and their educational programs at the level of excellence the young people of the community should have.