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Voters should pass MCS levy

Marietta residents have an important decision to make Nov. 5, when they are asked to approve a Marietta City Schools levy proposal that would build a three-school complex on 49 acres of land adjacent to Washington State Community College. That project would replace six schools – the youngest of which is nearly 50 years old.

It would provide not simply newer facilities, but better places for our students to learn and grow; and it will bring opportunities that are not now available. Our region is in desperate need of the kind of boost that comes when communities value education. Not only does that mean we put our own kids first, it shows families who might be considering a move to Marietta that the entire community is invested in providing a quality education for its young people.

And make no mistake, it is an investment. The project is estimated at $85 million. A decision that affects all taxpayers’ bottom lines will be more difficult for some than others – we all understand that.

Timing is of the essence in that regard, too. A provision in the 2020-21 state budget put Marietta’s levy proposal at the top of the funding list for the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission because it would be adjacent to a community college, and it added an extra 10 percentage points of state funding. That means millions more in state funding for the project. But there is an expiration date on the offer: May of next year, to be exact.

Residents have asked a lot of questions in recent weeks, not all of which have answers before officials are given the go-ahead to start working on the project. But there has been plenty of opportunity to air concerns that should not be forgotten when voters OK the project. Community involvement throughout the planning phases will be essential.

Our kids deserve the best education we can give them. They deserve to be given the tools they need to succeed. Marietta’s future depends on them; but on Nov. 5, they will be depending on us.

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