The Coventry Local School District is in dire need of new buildings. To say they are crumbling around the students would be an accurate assessment. Plaster falling from the ceilings, classrooms that can’t keep accurate temperatures, black mold growing near students and windows that allow the elements to come in are just some of the issues.
We cannot have our children in environments that are not safe or healthy.
We have a unique opportunity that offers the district a chance to receive $11 million from the Ohio School Facilities Commission to be used for a new high school.
The district must raise funds to match the grant, plus follow strict state guidelines.
Opponents claim the requirements for bidding on this multiphase project are too stringent. I view the requirements as encouraging good stewardship of taxpayers’ money.
Too many times, contractors are hired for projects and go out of business, unable to pay back funds or complete the job.
The board’s requirements ensure contractors have enough assets to remain solvent during the project.
Opponents are also saying our taxes are too high. However, Coventry the township is below the county average. The median household value in the Coventry district is $86,200. The proposed levy request would cost such a taxpayer $13.18 per month.
For residents over age 65, it would cost $9.36 per month.
Opponents are upset about open enrollment. Open enrollment helps the district because open-enrolled students bring in more state funding than students residing in the district. However, 13 percent of Coventry students chose to leave the district through open enrollment in 2013. Could this be because of building conditions?
Opponents say the district wastes money. Coventry spends less per pupil than every other district in the county except Norton.
If the levy fails, there will be drastic cuts because the money used to run music classes, marching band, busing and administration will be used to continue to apply temporary patches to building issues.
In addition, pay-to-play sports fees will increase $50 and the Portage Lakes Fitness Center will be closed.
There are some local businesses that have been privately and publicly lobbying against the levy. I strongly believe in supporting local businesses; however, it needs to be a two-way street. I will not support any business that operates in Coventry that is against our schools.
I will be voting for the levy on May 7, for my children, for your children, for my real estate value and for my community.
Benefits of mindfulness
I read with interest the April 15 story about mindfulness and Warstler Elementary school in Plain Township (“ ‘Mindful’ program for Plain’s students is halted”).
Any concerns about mindfulness can be cleared away by checking out the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn of the University of Massachusetts. He wrote a fine book on the topic, Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness. It works, and it’s being taught in hospitals across the nation.
My own experience with mindfulness practice has taught me that it helps deepen one’s spirituality. If you are a Christian, this practice is likely to help you become a clearer and more focused Christian.
It is a totally benign practice that can only help children as they face the inevitable stresses that come with growing up.
Elaine D. Fisher
Congress burdens the Postal Service
The main reason the U.S. Postal Service is in dire financial straits is the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, which requires the Postal Service to make payments in advance to its federal retirees health plan. Currently, the service has overpaid into this plan by as much as $75 billion.
Congress cannot and will not refund this money and put the service back on solid financial ground because it does not have it.
This money went to the Treasury, which has been using it for other purposes, but mostly to cover other federal workers’ retirement plans.
Congress is trying to sell the public the idea that it is best if the Postal Service goes forward with curtailing post office hours and closing 53 processing facilities. (Canton is one of them.)
Congress will tell you the Internet is killing the Postal Service, but that is not entirely true. Congress is killing the service, and some, such as U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, are trying to destroy it for personal gain. He has blocked legislation that would save the service, while accepting money from United Parcel Service. He is in charge of the House committee that oversees postal issues.
Congress wants to make you believe that postal workers are overpaid (they make medium wages on a national scale). The postmaster general is telling everyone how much money he will save, but, in reality, he is ordering quality processing plant closures and moving that mail to the least-productive plants.
If you have to drive mail from towns near Canton to Cleveland, common sense tells you that it will cost more in fuel and time.
The Postal Service is a constitutionally protected service to the American people. You don’t have to listen to the postmaster general telling you about cutbacks.
Please thank the following politicians: U.S. Reps. Bob Gibbs and Jim Renacci, Canton Mayor William Healy and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman.
It is because these gentlemen chose to ignore the closing of the Canton plant that the city lost tax and community revenue from hundreds of postal workers.
Timothy J. Manning
Branch President Local 304
National Postal Mail Handlers Union
A nation of diverse beliefs
This is for everyone who relies on the Bible to aid them when they speak out against gay marriage: Just when was it that your God and your Bible became everyone else’s God and Bible?
Is it not possible that everyone in this country does not have your exact religious beliefs? Can you really be so blind that you believe that your faith is the only one people should follow?
Some people don’t believe in God at all, or the Bible. And then there are those of us who actually believe in a non-judgmental God, very unlike the one who keeps getting used when Christian “believers” want to make a point against gay marriage.
We expect everyone, regardless of their faith, to follow the laws in this country, so I wonder why some people insist on wanting to make laws based solely on their own faith, a faith in which everyone in this country does not believe.
No weapons in the classroom
The politicians’ knee-jerk reaction of wanting to arm teachers is a very bad idea. Teachers should first and foremost provide the child in the classroom with a model of affirmation and rational choice.
Securing weapons of any sort in the classroom setting is impractical and horrifying. Retrieval in an emergency cannot meet the immediate need of an unexpected and random attack. School administrators or teachers carrying a weapon can only present a picture of an armed adversary to the young child rather than that of a trusted and sage role model.
Teachers are overburdened as it is with addressing the individual needs of each student, maintaining discipline and order and meeting academic and testing mandates of the district and state.
No teacher could obtain the training or career experience to safely and effectively wield a deadly weapon, nor would most want that grave responsibility.
It is most unfortunate and shortsighted that some think a teacher-citizen militia is a sane or prudent idea. Arming teachers sounds like numerous tragic accidents waiting to happen.
It would be better to use the money for additional resources for local police instead of spending it to train teachers to shoot.
There are many other ways to protect our children from random violence at school, like a buzzer foyer, badges, limited access to the building and parental respect and participation in safeguards, just to name a few.
Sadly, the people intent on doing harm will succeed, no matter the boundaries erected.
Legislation is being considered to raise the federal minimum wage by over 30 percent.
That means in the near future the cost of everything will go up by about the same percentage. What have we really gained by raising the minimum wage?
The answer is: We have decreased the value of what the current wage earner makes.