As a parent and strong supporter of public education, I’m asking for support of the Woodridge school levy. Our schools are one of our greatest assets; they build a better future and empower individuals to become contributing, productive citizens. This is the real value of education.

There are many things public education is not, such as a business. Some say we should run our schools like a business. If a business is suffering, it must make cuts. However, a struggling business is often in this position due to a declining customer base and declining revenue. Of course, it makes financial sense to cut.

Our schools, however, don’t fit the business model. In fact, Woodridge’s excellent ratings have actually driven growth, and school enrollment is at an all-time high.

But this growth of “customers” doesn’t bring a growth in revenue. Schools must make do with less.

Some say we can solve this crisis with budget cuts. But here’s what they don’t tell you: This “fix” would require school staff members to pay for more of their own medical insurance costs, combined with an almost 40 percent reduction in pay spread over five years.

No business would be able to impose such pay reductions and still be able to provide excellent service to its customers.

Until the state of Ohio changes its funding model, the community must step up and support public education.

In the past five years, Woodridge has been rated Excellent or Excellent with Distinction. We must ensure this rating remains. Think of the broader picture and our civic duty to make the world a better place. The facts are clear and the reasoning is sound. Vote for Issue 71 on Nov. 6.

Scott Karlo

Cuyahoga Falls

Questions for ?undecided Ohioans

I have three questions for undecided Ohio voters:

•?Why has Mitt Romney refused to release more than two years of income tax returns? His father, George, set the current standard by releasing 12 years of tax returns, with the justification that “one year could be a fluke.” Mitt Romney even vetted his vice presidential choices by asking for more than two years of returns.

•?Why is it that those members of Congress who signed a no-tax-increase pledge to Grover Norquist have not been indicted on charges of treason? Are they pledged to the U.S. Constitution and serving the American people? Or are they pledged to a lobbyist who could be considered one of those “enemies, foreign or domestic” referred to in the Constitution?

•?If we measure the president’s success in handling the economy, how does the Republicans’ pledge to do everything in their power to guarantee that Barack Obama is a one-term president affect the outcome?

There has been no commitment, by Congress or the Republican Party, to serve the American people in the past four years, only one pledge to a lobbyist, and another to undermine a sitting president at every opportunity. Those actions could not be considered patriotic or moral.

Rick Hayden

Newark

End the ?free ride

This year’s election may go down as the most important ever. Democrats love to use scare tactics, but the scariest event that could ever happen would be four more years of Obama. Those of you who are considering Obama for re-election obviously are not being honest with yourselves.

You cannot really be comfortable with what has happened to your country under Obama. Ask yourselves if you are satisfied with our country long having over 8 percent unemployment, plus a national debt in excess of $16 trillion.

Do you really favor a president who favors taking the lives of innocent new babies? Or a president who has already stolen $716 billion from Medicare to finance his outrageous Obamacare? Or a president who admits using cocaine while a student? Or a president who feels he has the authority to change the Catholic Church’s laws to his liking?

Or a president who has no problem ordering around military personnel many times more intelligent than he is, all while young men and women are dying because of his decisions?

Our greatest government expense is welfare, which he favors beyond anything. People have been provided free food, free cell phones, free housing and free money. Consequently, many openly admit that they would be foolish to work.

Is that something to be proud of? Four years ago, Obama promised change. Well, you got change, and it has been nothing but disaster.

Do not be influenced by others such as this newspaper’s endorsement. Step up to the plate and vote this guy out before he destroys this country. Even though Obama has been intentionally dumbing you down for nearly four years, prove that you are wise enough, and you will not have any more of it.

Learn a trade, or join the military, where the pay is good and a trade goes along with it. The free ride needs to come to an end. Be proud and go to work.

Bill Delaney

Akron

Life-saving vote

I am a Vietnam veteran who was heavily involved in a war that we lost.

It’s the reason why I am voting for President Obama. He ended the war in Iraq, another war we should have never been in. He saved lives.

I blame George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for every death Americans suffered, and are still suffering, in Afghanistan, another war that Obama is slowly ending. Please vote Nov. 6. It is very important.

Jack Colman

Akron

Support Issue 61

My husband and I live in Akron, and our four children attend public schools. We made a choice to settle here and invest in this community, and it has been wonderful. Our children are flourishing.

Akron will benefit if we attract more families to the city. One way we can do that is to support our schools. This community must take ownership and establish pride in our public schools. We put our resources into what we value, and it is time to start valuing the education of the children of Akron by voting for Issue 61.

As a pediatrician, I work every day with Akron’s children and their families, and they need our help. Quality education is vital for the future of our children, but also for the future of Akron. I often wonder what we are waiting for.

Budget cuts are causing overcrowded classrooms, program cuts, loss of activities and loss of technology for our students. If you are considering voting against this issue, I would challenge you to visit any Akron public school and see what great things are happening there.

The district has not passed an operations levy since 2006. The community needs it now more than ever.

Emily Gale Scott

Akron

Record of failure

I am fed up with President Obama’s empty words and broken promises. Gallup recently reported that home ownership is at the lowest level in a decade. When President Obama said, “Yes we can,” did he mean, “Yes we can move people out of their houses and into government apartments”?

Gina Norr

Wauseon

Family matters ?in education

Most theories regarding poverty come from economics. Perhaps there is a better place to look: sociology and its description of America’s families.

Children make up the largest group in poverty, and this problem is growing. Last year, 40 percent of babies born in the United States were born to single mothers, many of whom did not graduate from high school. This group included whites and blacks.

Now consider the impact of this on education. The 2011-12 Ohio school district report cards listed the 26 standards for which all Ohio students are tested. The minimum state standards are 75 percent proficient. Akron third-graders did not meet the minimum standards in reading and math. Our fifth-graders scored even lower.

This year, Ohio law says that intervention in reading for all third graders having difficulty must occur. If this does not work, then the child will be retained. Many poor readers will drop out of school in the 10th grade. A large percentage of the boys who drop out will be in prison by ages 23 to 26.

The United States spends more on education than any other country, but we rank 25th among developed countries. Poverty in the United States devastates our children, and will devastate our nation. Policy attempts by the government have failed.

For centuries, 80 percent of the U.S. population was made up of married adults. Today, that number has decreased to less than 50 percent. What is our best predictor for avoiding poverty? It is marriage and marriage before having children. This topic is seldom addressed by the media, policymakers, school leaders and others. It may cause discomfort, although we did hear it for the first time during the presidential debates.

We need all of our leaders to influence our youth. This includes priests, pastors, educators, mayors, business people, health-care workers, professionals, non-professionals and retirees. Our children need your voice, as does the nation.

Elizabeth Fesler

Akron