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Be sure of the truth before you vote

December 11, 2015
Shepherdstown Chronicle

As we are just a day away from the special election on the School Levy issue, it is a sad truth that both sides of the issue: supporters and opposition, have done an injustice to the citizens of the county, the students in the schools and themselves. The misinformation that has been blasted from both sides is frankly, despicable.

While I understand the passion felt by both sides, telling outright lies to potential voters doesn't say much for one's character. Opposition to the levy have resorted to telephone tactics saying things like one's taxes will go up by thousands if the levy is passed. That is absolutely not true. At best, one's taxes will remain the same. Granted, if the levy fails, one's taxes will decrease; but, this is not a brand new tax increase-it is one we have all been paying for years.

To complain (as was seen in social media posts) about the County Commission's spending of tax dollars to hold a special election and their poor oversight of school spending shows that those posting didn't do their homework to learn the truth. The Commission simply approved a special election at the request of the Board of Education. The money for the election (approximately $80,000) will come from the Board of Education, not the Commission. The Commission has no oversight of the Board of Education at all.

With that said, for the Board representatives to say the election money was already budgeted is a bit far-fetched. If there was $80,000 sitting in the budget, why not use that for some of the costs that the levy must pay for in the first place.

I find it difficult to believe the "doom and gloom" picture painted by supporters of the levy in that all of our children will lose every extracurricular activity, sports team and good teacher. If that is the case, we have a lot more to worry about than the levy dollars themselves.

While the Central Office of the Board of Education has been trimmed down to recoup funds cut by the governor recently, the shift now needs to be made into the schools themselves for cost savings. Why do we need multiple assistants especially in the offices at each school? Why do we need to constantly hire retirees from the school system making a much higher salary (as well as retirement dollars) than a younger workforce would bring? Why do we pay administrative staffers at the central office level high salaries for jobs they have no qualifications to do? There are many areas to look to cut rather than the threat of the students losing so much.

Either way you may vote, be sure of your facts before believing what someone on the phone or internet tells you. Just as in any political endeavor, the truth often gets lost. Sadly, the truth from one side or the other will never be known as if the levy passes, all the threats of doom disappear. If it fails, it will be interesting to see how the leaders work to save what is essential for the children. The constant "do it for the children" call will have to be met should the levy fail-that is where the truth of doing for the children will come out.

If the levy passes, we all continue to see the excess levy taken out as a tax. We won't see an increase in that tax; but we will see a continuance. What we most likely will also still see are children without text books and other things like special needs programs falling by the wayside. Let's hope that we see those things addressed regardless of the election results.

 
 
 

 

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