Otsego voters need to do their part


To the editor,

“Education is a public good and paying for it should be considered a public obligation.” That is a sentiment that dates back to before our country was a country and, if asked, would still be endorsed by most US citizens today.

There is no magic, as all public school districts in the U.S. are funded by various formulas of local, state and federal tax receipts. States differ in how tax revenues are allocated to public schools. Many states’ voters pay taxes to support schools, but do not get to make decisions about how much of their taxes stay in their local districts. Indiana, as a nearby example, derives their school funding directly or indirectly from taxing vehicles. But, different than Ohio, financial support to local public schools is appropriated by the Indiana General Assembly. Taxes are collected locally, but spending decisions come from Indianapolis. Ohio voters have the opportunity, paying through voted levies and decided by locally elected school boards, to make financial decisions about how to support their local schools.

Ohio’s school funding process, giving voters the opportunity to make decisions about their schools, is a big responsibility. We, voting taxpayers, are collectively responsible to provide facilities, faculty, staff and services that turn into well-educated students prepared to advance on to higher education, volunteer into the military or move directly into the workforce. Beyond local spending control, Ohio and thus Otsego voters, with a little effort, can see how every penny is spent. Name another tax we pay where we can say that!

That voter/taxpayer responsibility to provide funding means there is an impact if we don’t pass needed levies to support our schools. Higher student-to-teacher ratios, less facility repair and maintenance, fewer provided services are just a few of the results.

Is it really all about the money? You could say, “Yes it is.”.Maybe not how and how much money is raised, but certainly how it is spent. All aspects of building, operating and staffing schools cost money.

So Ohio voters, and thus Otsego voters, it starts with us. Let’s do our part by providing a solid education with good teachers in safe facilities for our district’s students. It’s been over 20 years since Otsego has asked us for any new money, but higher inflation economy costs have escalated. If you agree we should, then make sure to vote in support of Otsego Schools on or before March 19.

Steve Powell

Bowling Green

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