Xenia taxpayers rejected the school administration’s $79 million bond issue by a 16.6% margin. If my reading of the Greene County Board of Elections voting data is correct, voter turn out was still better than in February when Xenia taxpayer rejected the City’s enormous operating levy. Only 13% of registered voters went to the polls in February, but an impressive 26% turned out for the school’s bond issue. The 26% voter turn out was still low compared to the nearly 67% of voter turned for the November 4, 2008 presidential election.
Writers like to believe that their research, wisdom, or persuasion sway public opinion in the direction they think is best. Of course, writers are sometimes accused of being dreamers too. In my last commentary on this issue, I focused on the moral issue underlying the administrator’s near $100,000 effort to increase our taxes. That moral issue was the state’s $58 million give-away that was gained by what amounts to extortion. The state unjustly took millions of dollars from tobacco companies and justified it by setting aside a large chunk of their spoils. Yet, this particular moral issue was not likely an important factor in most voters’ decision.
One of the most likely factors was the economic recession. The inflated economy caused by high gas prices that added the necessary weight to an economy overburdened by bad credit and unsustainable debt levels collapsed our economy. Many investment advisors predict a long-term recovery. That is unless Obama’s New Big Deal prevents a recovery and thus creates an even worse recession. The loss of business, jobs, investment earnings make for an uncertain financial future. Adding more taxes is not a good idea right now.
Another factor affecting voter decisions was the push by school administrators to get a positive vote. I know of parents whose children were made to attend the vote-for-the-bond-issue rally held at Cox Field on Monday evening. For at least a week prior to Tuesday May 5, school officials and teachers were telling kids to encourage their parents to vote and they did. I also heard about teachers giving students extra credit for helping with get-out-the-vote activities. Some kids were given time off to do so as well. While attending the rally was mandatory for a lot of kids, the goal was to gets as many of their parents to enjoy the free food and the sales promotion gala. Some parents, at least, think it is wrong.
I bet you thought schooling was about learning the basics not the politics of government funding raising. We tend to forget that all school professionals have been trained by the vastly powerful education union lobby, the National Education Association (NEA). The same tactics used by those politics in Washington D.C. are also employed at home. That is why funding schooling with extortion money is not seen as a big deal. The same can be said of manipulating kids to pressure parents for the good of the agendas of politicians.
If their agenda would have produced the best types of schools, I might have been tempted to vote for it. School research proves otherwise. (See Xenia Community Schools Rebuilding Plan : Why Small Schools are Best)
As far as I can discern, Xenia taxpayers built all of their schools without state extortion money. Xenia citizens are capable of continuing that practice. The Ohio legislature will continue to appropriate money to assist school districts build new schools. If needed, it will still be available in the future. The solution to increasing local funding for education is increasing local wealth, which points beyond our local community to the political and economic causes preventing it.
By Daniel Downs