I’ve been trying to collect my thoughts on the levy after seeing the information coming from both sides.

GUEST COLUMN – Submitted by Loveland City School District Resident, Carol Hall.

Carol Hall – Resident, Loveland School District (Provided)

There is a lot of information. Sifting through it all takes time, patience and an open mind.

I was a private school parent for many more years than I’ve been a public-school parent. Ten years ago, my vote would have been different. “We are already paying for school,” “Ohio needs to fix how schools are funded. Until then, we’ll pay for the education we want for our kids.” I grew up going to private school, so it was what I knew and what I wanted for my kids.
That being said, perspective is a really good thing.

For the past five years I’ve had a child attending and have worked with Loveland Schools. I also have a son and daughter in law who teach in public schools. With this added life experience, my opinions have changed.

This is why I’m voting yes:

We are so blessed to have many quality options for our children in the Cincinnati area. Neither public nor private schools could accommodate all the students in every community so there is a need for both. Religious and cultural diversity also helps communities to thrive. But, not everyone can send their children to the “best” school they can afford so I believe each and every school should offer the same quality education.

As a family, we decided there was value to a high quality education for our children so we paid for them to attend private school. Although privilege is a word that is often thrown around, it applies in this instance. We had the means to pay the tuition.  For me personally, I saw the value and paid the price. I feel it is wrong to then say that I am unwilling to see the value in educating all the other children in my community. Privilege is saying, “The schools are all right for your children, but not mine.” Every child should have access to the same education. We paid more in one month than we will pay for an entire year if the levy passes. Is it worth it to me for that to happen? Absolutely.

We should all work together to change the way schools are funded in Ohio. Until that happens, the schools need our support. My son teaches in a community where there are no businesses or industry. It is a very low-income area so neither property nor business tax support the schools. The result of this is very evident in that community. Their opportunities are limited. So as much as we would like to say no to any increases, we do not want to limit the future opportunities for our children.

I am a firm believer in the philosophy that we either rise together, or we fall together.

Because of the economic disparity and educational differences in our area and around Ohio, not all children are provided with the same tools for success. We have the opportunity to provide those tools. By offering a variety of classes and extracurricular activities to expand knowledge and experience we are opening doors for students that may not be provided otherwise. I want that for our children.

In the middle school Drama program, we feel very strongly about inclusion. We want everyone who has a desire to participate have the opportunity. We charge a participation fee that covers the student’s script, t-shirt, DVD and what’s left goes toward their costume. We are able to offer scholarships to those who can’t afford that fee. We do two shows a year and typically have 70 to 100 kids involved. Aside from track, we have the most student participation of any extracurricular activity at the middle school. Without assistance from the school we would be unable to continue the program without a significant increase in the participation fee. Which brings me back to privilege. Do we want to have a community where only those who can afford to participate in these extracurricular programs benefit from them? I personally would like to see all the children in the community be included.

Because of the economic differences in our community, I am aware that many people can’t afford anything extra. I can’t be hypocritical and say it’s important to me, we can afford it, so everyone should be able to. I will vote yes, and I will also support Tigers helping Tigers. This goes back to together we rise. We can’t let those in our community struggle any more than we can let our students. Loveland has the tools in place with Tigers Helping Tigers. We should be able to come together and help those who need it the most. I believe in our community. I have seen kindness and generosity at every turn. The success of programs like NEST attest to the passion and intent that all children should have the same opportunity for success. Although I am so happy we have NEST, a community with an economic base like Loveland shouldn’t need it. We should have schools, teachers, programs and activities to allow each child to learn and grow.

We’ve lived in Loveland for 24 years. The landscape has changed a lot in that time. There were those who opposed any changes to the Downtown Loveland area because they wanted to maintain that ‘hometown feel.’ You can witness on any weekend throughout the year how vibrant that area is now with the new businesses and activities put on by the City of Loveland and the Chamber. Growth is necessary for any community to survive. We want people to move here. One main thing potential buyers look at is the quality of the school system. If we allow the schools to fail, our community as a whole will fail. Together we rise.

Teachers shape lives.

Every career requires an education. Teachers are the heart and soul of every school system and community. I want Loveland schools to be a desirable place to work so we draw in the most passionate educators. Our schools should be a place where teachers have the space and tools to teach to the best of their ability. I don’t want them to have overcrowded classrooms, less access to teaching aids and resources or be worried that their jobs are going to be eliminated.

The music educators I had in my early years shaped and changed the course of my life. As a result, they and all the music and theater educators my children have had changed the course and shaped their lives. Cutting music, drama, robotics, sports, etc. limits the paths our kids can explore and choose for their future.

I have many more reasons for voting yes, but will leave it here. These are my opinions based off of my experiences. At the end of the day, it all comes down to our kids. I personally would like to see every child in Loveland have the same opportunities to learn and thrive.
Together We Rise. – Caroline Hall: Resident, Loveland City School District