Reader:?"I play for West Branch Warriors"
To the editor:
In the movie "Miracle," Coach Herb Brooks kept asking his team, "Who do you play for?" They all kept stating the different colleges that they attended. After many sprints, Captain Mike Eruzione exhaustingly yelled, "I play for the United States of America."
Well here in West Branch it has been a 22-year sprint without needing to ask the question "who you play for," because we have been funded by the state of Ohio. It has filled our funding gaps, but today is "D-Day" and that funding has been reduced.
Now we must ask our community that same question, "Who do you play for?" I know that my response is, "West Branch Warriors!" And do you know why? Because West Branch Warriors play for our community and our schools.
West Branch is very unique. We don't have a downtown for everyone to gather. Our schools are where our community comes to unite 111 square miles of residents. They come for all kinds of events and dinners. Our schools serve our community, and our community serves our schools.
And our kids are the ones that show us how important community truly is. They sponsored an egg hunt for all of the youth of our community; they donate and deliver food for Share a Christmas and Thanksgiving; they volunteer to help families in need after a fire or tragedy. Our school and community are one in the same. Failure to support one weakens the other. When schools succeed our community succeeds, and when our community succeeds the schools grow stronger. With strong schools our property values soar; therefore, what we invest in schools we receive in financial gain.
We have heard some of what might be lost without passage of the levy. But how about what will be gained? The Board of Education has guaranteed $400,000 of this levy funding to go toward "stuff:" computers, advanced programs, books, buses and repairs that have been lacking in this mode of protecting our monies. The district has made sound financial decisions to get us this far. The problem is not local. The problem is the fact that the state cut money to our district.
The reality is that our 22-year run of no taxes is ending, and without it, our students and community lose. We, however, have the power to change. We have the power to save our community. The choice is now yours.
So in the words of sportscaster, Al Michaels, who said at a hockey game, "Do you believe in miracles?" My answer is yes, I do, because I see the transformation of students daily. I see so many little things that mean so much to our community. I have been blessed to see a dedicated and awesome staff teaching with passion, care and dignity.
Voting for the community and schools will not be a miracle. It will be using the free will that we have been given to save ourselves. The miracle is the power of our future, our students, our community.
Students of West Branch need community support
To the editor:
I graduated from West Branch in 1989. My wife and I have two girls open-enrolled in Damascus. We own property in the school district but currently reside in Salem and pay both Salem and West Branch property taxes. We are in the process of moving into the district either late this year or early next year, so whether this levy passes or fails, we do have a vested interest in the outcome.
My family history at West Branch spans five generations. That is one of the reasons we decided to come back to Ohio after living in both Chicago and then San Jose, Calif. We could have moved anywhere in the U.S. but we moved here to raise a family.
But frankly none of that matters. What does matter is this community has always done right by its kids. Yet, here we are as a community discussing if it's worth spending less than one penny out of every dollar we earn to support our kids, our school and the community.
I do believe in the old saying a penny saved is a penny earned. But it should never be at the expense of our school and kids. I know that all people - both for and against this levy - place children in the highest regard. That is our common ground. Where I think the divergence from our commonality starts is the extent to which each of us is willing to sacrifice.
The details and merit of this levy have been debated in social media similarly to kicking a dead horse. And in a lot of ways it's been good to get it off our chest and voice our opinions and thoughts but it has also been galvanizing to many including myself.
The WB school board has gone to great lengths to be clear and accurate on the details of this levy, and I applaud their efforts, as well as how they've handled their fiscal responsibility and overall management of the school. More than a few have checked the numbers and come to the same conclusion in terms of the need for this levy and the need is now.
Flatly having an ideology of no more tax is easy. It is an easy position to take. It's driven by a broader political picture at the federal level that we all see on cable news, where pundits backup their position using selective and narrowly focused research and talking points. It becomes the never ending rhetoric of stand your ground to big government. But this levy is local it is about us, not big government or billion dollar bridges to nowhere or $600 hammers. There is no doubt we are all fatigued and worn out by more taxes and yet tonight there is a groundswell of people in this community that will pay. Why? Simply put, it is a small price to pay for everything we hold dearest our children.
I want to personally thank every single person who works for West Branch School District - from the teachers, kitchen staff, administrators, school board, bus drivers, janitorial, aides, subs, coaches. All of you have my deepest appreciation for protecting, teaching, feeding, motivating and most important to me, inspiring our kids.
You are their guardians for seven hours a day and it's time for us to stand up for you and deliver passage of this levy by voting yes on May 6.
Lending more backing for passage of WB levy
To the editor:
I am a 1988 graduate of West Branch Local School District. My husband and I have two children who attend West Branch; one at the middle school and one at Damascus Elementary. We consider our family active participants in the West Branch community.
As parents we made the choice to have our children attend West Branch. With academics rated excellent with distinction, diverse after school programs and community involvement it allowed for an easy decision.
As an alumni of West Branch, I understand the meaning of Bleeding Green in this community. It's the pride families, staff, and administrators have when academic success is achieved. It's volunteering and being a part of something that most school districts strive to achieve but challenge to accomplish. It's the way we feel when we cheer a Warrior on to victory and the crowd yells "We are West Branch."
I believe that the future of West Branch as we know it is at jeopardy should the community not support a yes vote on May 6. Students, parents, faculty, and support staff associated with West Branch will feel the impact. Critical programs that shape the future of our children could be deemed as being non-mandated.
Technology for student learning, high school band and choral concerts, high school honors classes, algebra and advanced math at the middle school, high school sports, elementary art, and music are essential in shaping the character of our children. All of these things set West Branch above other school districts.
There are many more programs that have been identified as being non-mandated by the state. Imagining our schools without these programs cuts into the heart of what we are all about and one of the primary reasons our family chose West Branch Local School District.
If you are an engaged voter you have done your research and know what is being asked of you. You know it is your choice on May 6. Do you continue to support our children, staff, and community? I believe that answer is yes!
Voters need to be up to challenge in WB District
To the editor:
I am the proud mom of two West Branch Middle School students. My husband and I are West Branch graduates. I'm a lifelong resident the West Branch community.
Our community is facing a challenge with the upcoming school levy. The challenge is whether or not we will continue to support our children, our schools, our community and the economic future of this area.
Many people consider the quality of schools when deciding where to live. West Branch is and has been rated "Excellent" for years. We are all proud of this fact. We have the school administrators, teachers and staff to thank for their outstanding guidance to our children. Our educators not only fulfill their teaching duties during the school day they very often spend time outside of the classroom helping students.
Our kids are thriving in the educational environment we've supported over the years. The question is - are we willing to continue to support what we have come expect and rely upon? Are we willing to continue the educational excellence by voting yes for the levy on Tuesday, May 6?
Our culture of excellence is something that we cannot put at risk. Our children deserve what we have had. Our kids deserve the best there is to offer and that is West Branch.
We've enjoyed the privilege of living in the West Branch community and of seeing our kids excel in the classroom and in higher education. I truly hope that we can continue to support the West Branch Schools. We owe it to our children, their future and our community's economic well-being. I encourage you to make the effort to vote yes on Tuesday, May 6. Our kids are depending on us.
Would you take the money and run from U.S.?
To the editor:
Several evenings ago I witnessed on Fox News a group of 20 people who were being questioned and asked to comment on the current conditions facing our country today. This group consisted of a cross section of all political parties and independents. These people were well informed and their remarks and comments confirmed this.
The moderator threw out questions and asked for comments covering the serious problems facing this country. All were encouraged to join in with their individual comments and I witnessed a lively exchange of comments and ideas and I hoped those pinheads in Washington were listening.
During the program the moderator ask the audience this question several times "How many of you people, were I to give you $1 million no strings attached, leave this country and never return ? The number of hands went up were surprising and frightening. If anyone still has any doubts as to where this country is heading, after listening to this group, they should be dispelled.
These people were not picked off the street, but were educated and all were up to date on current events. I believe they, by their thoughts and comments, were an excellent example of what most people believe what is happening to our country today.
Our free democratic society is eroding and Washington is doing nothing about it. If we're ever going to see daylight again we the people will have to act. We must find a way to dismantle the power grab that is being employed be the President and members of his party. Their goal is to choke the life out of our democratic system then attempt to lead us down the one way path to socialism.
We should never forget those two words uttered so often by Obama throughout his first campaign, "Fundamental Transformation." So many people interpreted those magic words as a symbol of change for the better. We know now his intent was to cause a complete change of government resulting in a loss of our personal freedom. We also know now those magic words were not of hope of a healthy change, but a threat as what our new President really had on store for us.
LEON J. WHITE,