Bay Village League of Women Voters endorses school levy
The Bay Village chapter of the League of Women Voters has unanimously endorsed the 7.2 mill Bay Village school levy on the Nov. 8 ballot. We have issued this endorsement because we believe a well-educated public is necessary for a strong democracy. We also believe that a high-quality public-school system is necessary for a high-quality community.
It is not an accident that Bay Village currently has both – it took hard work over a long period of time. Bay voters have routinely passed school levies every four years or so for our entire history. These levies are important because our community does not have a strong industrial base, nor do we get much money from the state. The citizens of Bay have shown a commitment to this school system which has been a careful steward of our tax money over many years, turning out well educated young people ready to productively move out into the world.
The Bay Village LWV encourages voters to continue investing in the future of both our children and our community by voting YES on Issue 3.
The levy request is occurring during the 100th anniversary of Bay High School, so it seems a good time to reflect on the history of our school-community partnership. What motivated the community back in 1922 to go to the great expense of building a high school?
Up until that point, Bay children of high school age went to surrounding communities if they wanted to continue their education. An expensive bond levy was held to raise funds for the building. The yearbook of the new school’s first graduating class in 1927 contains some hints about the seeds of our strong community-school partnership. Its first page is a dedication: "To the citizens of Bay Village who have so loyally and liberally supported the school, we dedicate this Arc-Light Annual."
The faculty list includes the principal Barton Griffith, who had left his job as principal in Brooklyn Heights to come help our community start this new school. He had a degree from Ohio State and was working in the summers on his master's degree. All the rest of the faculty also had college degrees and were fully certified, most with many years of teaching experience.
The high school was already a "regularly chartered high school of the first grade" which is "as high a rating as any high school may attain," the yearbook stated. A whole page is devoted to a quote from President Calvin Coolidge: "While I believe that educators are under obligation to expend public funds economically, it seems obvious that the recent increase in expenses for this purpose is a most wise investment … using the resources of the country to develop the brains of the country through education has always been greatly to stimulate and increase the power of the people to produce."
It was noted that the bond issue that was passed turned out not to be sufficient for the needs of the community. Three years after the high school was completed, they had to build a third floor on top of the existing school, not to mention the three out-buildings that had to be used from the beginning.
The Bay Historical Society also has in its archives a newsletter from 1949 called "The Report Card" in which Superintendent W.J. Springer laid out his case for why the community should pass another school levy that year. The issues he raised sound very familiar today: "Bay finds itself in the paradoxical position of having citizens of moderate income, with high educational standards and a relatively poor taxing ability due to the absence of industry. A high tax rate is inevitable if the desired standards are to be met." He concludes his report: "A major problem of this community is 'How adequately will its citizens provide educational opportunity for its youth? The answer rests with you, the parents and voters of Bay!'"
Here we are today, 73 years later, facing the same issues, asking the same questions. Hopefully we as a community will come to the same conclusion, that adequately funding our schools is a wise investment in the future of both our children and our community.
Extensive information about the school district’s financial needs and accomplishments is available for each voter’s inspection at bayk12.org.
The Bay Chapter of the League of Women Voters is sponsoring an educational forum on school funding in Ohio on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 7:00 p.m. in the middle school library. Speakers include Susan Kaeser, educational specialist for the League of Women Voters of Ohio; Matt Dolan, state senator for District 24; Jim Betts, volunteer coordinator for Fair School Funding Ohio; and Scot Prebles, Bay Schools Superintendent.
I am a 35 year resident of Bay Village and currrent Chair of the Bay Chapter of the League of Women Voters.