Just My Opinion – When Numbers Mean More Than Just Numbers

On Tuesday, May 4, 2021, registered voters living in the Pike-Delta-York School District will have the opportunity to cast a ballot in favor of or against a Five-Year 1.0% Income Tax Levy to maintain the current financial solvency of the District.  The possible need for this legislation was initially foreseen back in May of 2017 by Matt Feasel, District Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer. 

Helping to fuel this necessity was the industrial and residential tax abatements awarded by the Village of Delta which significantly reduced a major revenue stream for the school.  Compounding the problem was the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the subsequent and sudden and substantial reduction of state funding.  It left the District officials and the PDY Board of Education (BOE) scrambling to find a way to keep the schools open.  A daunting task in itself and all on the heels of devising and managing a remote learning program to educate the District’s students while keeping them and the staff safe and healthy.

The tough decisions that must be made are driven by numbers, numbers which are hard, cold and unsympathetic to the impact and consequences they ultimately have on the students, the teachers and the community at large.  Also tied to these numbers are names, names of people and programs which will be eliminated if the levy fails. 

Here it can become very personal.  Here is when you see your neighbor, a teacher at the school, put a For Sale sign in front of their house.  Here is when your cousin or brother who drives a school bus makes an appointment with the unemployment office.  Here is when your sister is open enrolling her children in Swanton or Evergreen or Wauseon schools because they want to play sports, or march in the band or perform in the musical.

At the March 10, 2021 BOE meeting, a recommended reduction in force, reduction in programs and reduction in transportation was approved by all board members.  The names of 10 teachers were listed, along with three aides, two bus drivers, one secretary, one network technician and the athletic director.  Programs eliminated were all extra-curricular activities, the District Gifted, two-year kindergarten, high school Future Farmers of America and all field trips.  These minutes can be found on the PDY School District’s website under District/Board of Education/Board Minutes/Regular Meeting 3/10/21.

One name that was not mentioned in BOE minutes but will essentially, if not officially, be gone is the one with the longest tenure in the District, “Panthers”.  With no athletics and no band along with other school clubs there will be little need for a nickname.  “Panther Pride” could become a memory.  We have all experienced the void left when these activities were suddenly stopped by the State of Ohio in the Spring of 2020 to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Can you imagine what that will feel like if that void were to last several years?

It may take a few signs in front yards around town that say “Go Vikings” or “Proud Graduate of Wauseon High School” or “Bulldog Pride” before the stark reality of a failed levy sets in.  Of course, an increase in taxes is something nobody ever wants.  This levy will take some money out of the pockets of hard-working District residents.  The bigger question is how much more will it cost every resident if the levy fails?

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s