Wrap your tax dollars in common sense

To the editor:

A Dec. 3 leader headline was exciting: “Cardinal builds toward future.” Alas, it didn’t report that the New Bremen BOE and NBS leadership have discovered futures scenarios, changing course from prematurely building a $14MM and allegedly obsolete elementary facility design at an uncertain time.

While our political pot bubbles, trajectory unknown, most Americans need to deal with the issues that directly affect their families and communities. One of those issues, enveloped in the fog of political warfare, is public education. Nominating Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education potentially creates nasty challenges for public education, and especially for their BOE.

Many of our schools, and their oversight, have been in denial most of this century that public education is and has been under attack by “corporate reform,” charters, vouchers, and ideology rooted with economist Milton Friedman, envisioning privatization of our public systems. Ohio, abetted by a frequently inept Ohio Department of Education, is at the leading edge of states pushing charters.

What’s the big deal; a charter here and there may be good for competition, and tweaking public systems to do better? One word, the answer is ‘dollars;’ every dollar of tax revenue committed to a public school that is re-routed to a charter or a voucher comes out of both the public school’s support, and your pocket.

What is the prospect for an acceleration of privatization under DeVos? There are multiple scenarios, but all suggest the attack on public systems will ramp up. Ohio in the earlier forefront of charter development is a likely target, subjecting our systems to major uncertainty. Trashing approximately 190 years of public education doesn’t serve America.

One consequent mistake is committing major tax dollars to projects that can’t be properly defined until the education-political landscape starts to become clearer. A second is ignoring education modernization already long underway, building a plan already obsolete as modern design for learning.

An argument may be, that the NBHS facility bond millage will soon be over, hence a new facility may not additionally impact taxpayers? Maintaining present school taxes, however, to build an educationally obsolete structure, or in the face of uncertainty where public schools are heading, is not prudent. Not making do temporarily with the present sustainable facility, until the correct BOE homework is executed, is irresponsible BOE performance.

Your tax dollars; wrap them in common sense, or where this BOE appears to be fumbling critical thought.

Dr. Ronald Willett

New Bremen