‘Quiet campaign’ for new BG High School has failed

To the Editor:

I am an educator with 40-plus years of experience who has worked on school levy campaigns. I know the value of updated and safe learning environments.

I can’t recall ever voting against a school levy. However, at this time, it’s unlikely I will support the Bowling Green City Schools high school levy.

In September, I received a BG Citizens in Support of Our Schools flyer about the levy, a request for which I had no previous knowledge; we’ve lived in BG just three years. The flyer was incredibly lacking in information in regards to the need and the financial impact.

After no response to three emails sent to three different district personnel, on Oct. 20, I had phone contact with the treasurer. I thank her for her listening, professionalism and information. Here’s what I learned with that call and from my own research:

1) Income taxes to the schools will double (from 0.5% to 1%) for the next seven years.

2) Property taxes will go up $136 per $100,000 of valuation due to the $49 million bond issue.

3) The combined impact of these taxes, on our fixed income retired household, will increase our school-related taxes by around $700 annually.

4) The district has opted not to utilize any state funding via the Ohio Facilities Commission if it were available.

5) The district website, under the facility tab, has assessment information and rationale which shows the predicted costs to be between $48-$58 million; however, the levy request is for $70 million.

6) The board of education, according to the treasurer, opted “to take no active role” in the levy campaign.

7) Decisions on the elementary buildings will have a “wait and see” approach.

This has me deeply questioning the district’s transparency, and suggests to me that not enough has been done to inform the 24,000 voters.

If the need is so great, this levy should have been a loud campaign highlighting the need, justifying the large expense, engaging voters in frequent Q&A opportunities, calling registered voters and showcasing the long-term advantage of this project.

The “quiet campaign” is insulting and frustrating; it may continue the divisiveness of past building campaigns.

I question the methods used — and not used — by the district and the committee leading up to this vote. I encourage everyone to vote.

Mike Godfrey

Bowling Green