Rebuttal to opponents of the Marietta City Schools levy

A recent letter to the editor regarding the proposed tax levy to fund new schools in Marietta City had some serious mistakes.

All levies have a “roll back” provision as was stated by (board member) Russ Garrison at the Sept. 17 meeting. As property values rise the effective mileage is reduced so that the money generated remains at the original level. This is true of any current school levy, future levy; as well as, levies such as fire, senior center, etc.

Also, the preliminary design does call for three gyms, an outdoor practice field and an auditorium paid for with “local” dollars as the state does not fund auditoriums. Additionally, the open classroom design allows for larger groups to meet when partitions are opened between classrooms. These spaces may also be available for public meetings as well.

The writer’s reference to school performance has two glaring errors. In citing the “capstone” option for seniors, the writer fails to state that this is a state-wide provision which was instituted by the Ohio Department of Education in recognition that previous testing requirements were placing many in danger of not graduating on time. This is true throughout the state, not just in Marietta.

The second allegation, that Putnam School has a high number of National Honor Society members and therefore should stay open, denies the economic reality that incomes in that particular neighborhood are generally higher than in less affluent parts of the district. Income and parental education level are proven predictors of academic achievement unless targeted interventions are provided. This, by the way, is the premise of Title I programming.

Perhaps the most troubling portion of the letter was the misleading statement that the anticipated traffic problem on Colegate-Glendale-Greene and Muskingum Drive would be the fault of the new school location. The reality is that the last major infrastructure project on the east side of Marietta was the Pike Street-Route 7 widening project which occurred over twenty-five years ago. The traffic in that part of Marietta is in dire need of a connector to carry vehicles from Route 7 toward Route 60 without winding through the too narrow streets of Norwood. Let us not blame that problem on the proposed school campus. Maybe this is an opportunity to work with our State and Federal legislators to address the traffic issue that already exists and plan for the future.

Progress brings change, and uncertainty. Not changing means no growth. Ask any business that tries to remain competitive and relevant. While the level of interest in the levy is commendable, those who choose to speak out need to listen carefully and present the facts fairly and honestly.

We are voting for progress. I encourage you to do the same. Thank you.

Steve and Teresa Porter