A life-long Bowling Green resident is stepping up to lead the campaign for the school district's newest levy request.
|Kelly Wicks stands in a hallway at the new extension of Crim Elementary in Bowling Green, Ohio on February 20, 2013. Wicks is chairing the campaign for the school levy on the ballot in May for Bowling Green School District. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
Schools Superintendent Ann McVey introduced Kelly Wicks, who owns Grounds for Thought and is a 1985 Bowling Green High School graduate, as campaign chairman at the Feb. 19 school board meeting.
"His expertise is obvious and he brings a highly qualified team with him," said McVey.
"Needless to say, the partnership is under way."
She called Wicks "a genuine Bowling Green home-grown supporter."
Wicks said at the meeting that he wants to "remind people how great public education is in this community.
"This is really about the kids."
Wicks has two children attending Bowling Green High School.
The district is asking taxpayers to support a 6.75-mill property tax in May.
District Treasurer Rhonda Melchi has said the owner of a home appraised at $150,000 would pay $25.84 a month, or $310.08 a year for the new tax.
"Public education is the foundation of this community" said Wicks, who will chair the Citizens in Support of Our Schools committee. "BG Schools continue to give so much to my family and the people of the Bowling Green area, it is an honor to be asked to help.
"If we don't fully support our schools now, we're looking at limited opportunities for our students because of the continued loss of state funding," Wicks continued. "We, as a community, must help give our kids the education and stability they deserve."
Also helping with the campaign are Sam Melendez. Coleman Howes, Dan Stutzman and Michael Hart.
Melendez, who has lived in town for 23 years, said he is helping "to keep Bowling Green Schools great."
He has a child in first grade at Conneaut Elementary, and will have a second in kindergarten next year.
"I appreciate the experience he's having," Melendez said.
"I've seen what the state has done to local schools for far too long, and we have to support (the district)."
He came to town in 1990 to attend Bowling Green State University, and never left. He's a full-time father and former Sylvania Schools teacher.
Howes also is a BGHS graduate, Stutzman graduated from BGSU and works at Penta Career Center, and Hart is a sophomore at BGSU.
McVey praised Wicks for his involvement in Bowling Green as a small business owner, a supporter of the arts and a supporter of the community.
Wicks has been involved in the Black Swamp Arts Festival since its premiere in 1992, spending most years chairing performing arts; and he's owned Grounds for Thought since 1989.
Wicks last fall ran an unsuccessful campaign against Tim Brown for Ohio Representative. One of his platforms at the time was public education.
"I believe in the value of public education, and we have to fund it properly," he stated.
"I'm a Bobcat. It felt like I received a tremendous opportunity." And his children "are seeing that same quality of education."
Strong schools mean it's good for small businesses and property values, he added.
Also at the meeting, McVey spoke of public education funding. On Jan. 31, when Gov. John Kasich shared his plan for education, she thought there might be hope for funding equality.
A week later, that changed.
"Our positive thought was really short lived," she said.
Bowling Green Schools will receive no increase in state funding, "and to this day, we have not received definitive information to assist in understanding the formulas used to determine funding amounts," she said.
But educators "are eternal optimists."
The bottom line is, "the fleeting thoughts of no longer needing to go to our citizens for school funding are gone. We cannot operate with no increase in state funding and we cannot reduce or cut our way out of reduced school support," she stated.
Also at the meeting, the board accepted the retirement resignations from Jeffrey Burkett, middle school reading and math teacher; Thomas Smathers, high school social studies teacher; Jeanine Alberti, middle school reading and social studies teacher; Michael Lanseer, Kenwood Elementary physical education teacher; and Danny Pocket, Conneaut Elementary custodian.