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Why I'm voting for the MCS levy

March 28, 2011 - Erin O'Neill
The end of March is upon us. I know, it snuck up on me too. It's hard to believe that there are only about two months left of school. I feel like we just wrapped up Christmas not all that long ago. Now it's time to start signing up for summer camp and planning family vacations. Maybe it's just a side effect of getting old but the days sure seem to be whizzing by.

One important day that should be on everyone's radar, however, is May 3. It's a Tuesday, yes. But it's also Election Day for a lot of us. An issue that is near and dear to my heart is the Marietta City Schools emergency operating levy. I'm not going to sit here and preach or get all political. But I'm going to tell you why I am voting in favor of this levy...

The Internet is a wonderful place. It is, however, also a place that runs rampant with rumors, speculation, misinformation and negativity. I will share a recent experience that I had on Facebook. I was chatting with some folks and the subject of school funding came up. I expressed concern that my local schools were going to be facing some major cuts if this levy doesn't pass. The replies I got back were astounding: "Just move to a better school district;" "Kids don't need art and music, they need to learn only the fundamentals," "Teachers make too much money," "Why do you need gifted programs? Do you think your kid is so much better than anyone else's?" These comments truly shocked me, although, I shouldn't have been surprised. Why on earth would I want to disrupt the status quo? Why shouldn't we just settle for mediocrity? That is the mentality I am finding these days and, as a mother of a child who has just started to go through this system, it is unacceptable to me.

I am voting for this levy because, unlike many would have others believe, this is not a levy to build brand spanking new, glittery, behemoths of higher learning. That ship has sailed. No folks, we are in a deeper mess than that. This is to keep all the schools we have, keep them running, keep from cutting beneficial programs, keep working parents from having to struggle to find transportation or child care because of a lack of buses or a safe place to have programs after school. This is a levy to keep gifted programs in our schools to benefit our best and brightest, to keep our kids competitive and to allow several hard-working members of our community to keep their jobs.

I am voting for this levy because I'm tired of the "what-about-me" attitudes. Listen, I am a single parent. Heaven knows in this industry I don't make much money. I have lots of bills and pay lots of taxes just like everyone else. My car is going on 7 years old, has over 100,000 miles and it's going to have to last me a while longer. Every little increase adds up to be a major burden on the pocketbook. This is not lost on me or any of those who are in favor of the levy. But my child's future, and the future of all the kids in Marietta, is worth it to me. If it means we give up something else - movie rentals, coffee, gossip mags, special dinners out, car washes, flowers for the garden, DS games, football tickets, whatever it is, it's worth it to keep our young families from moving away. And if you think that's not happening, think again.

I am voting for this levy because I believe in public schools and I believe kids who come from public schools can go on to do wonderful things and be wonderful people. If you choose to home school, that's great and more power to you. I can't. I have to work. Every. Single. Day. That option is out for me. If you send your kid to private school, that is great as well. I don't happen to be Catholic so, again, not really an option for me. We have no charter schools here that I am aware of. So, that's out. What's left for me, and thousands of others, is our public school system. I am a product of it. And guess what? I graduated from college. I am a productive member of society. It can be done.

I am voting for this levy because some parents need the YMCA after school program. If the buildings have to close at 4:30, that puts a lot of us in a real bind.

I am voting for this levy because I moved away once, for quite a long time, and I came back to raise my child in the same small town environment that I was raised in. I don't want to have to move again but if our schools cannot help my child to succeed to the best of her abilities, then I am willing to do anything to provide that for her.

These are just some of my reasons. I probably lost quite a few of you several paragraphs back and many more clear back at the title of this blog. But if you've followed me to the end, I urge you to go one step further. Check out the levy website, and make your own decision based on the facts. And then go out and vote on May 3.


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