Having served on the Safety Task Force these past months, as a parent, I am
certainly reassured that Westerville schools are safe schools.
so many people - administrators,
principals, teachers, school resource
officers (SROs), community partners, intervention & counseling specialists
student leaders, all committed to keeping our schools safe. It was apparent to me
and everyone else on the Task Force - our Safety Program has taken years to
develop and fine-tuning is an on-going process.
Working together is key! We
discussed many great programs being offered, on elementary, middle and high
school levels, extending out into the community offering support, guidance
help. On that note, many of these programs are partially funded through grant
monies, some of which will run out soon.
I have heard staggering dollar amounts;
a middle school program grant
of $86,000 which is over next year. Another,
alternative program grant of $90,000, also expiring in another year. These
grant monies, of course, do not last forever.
Our intervention team, just this
past month, winning National acclaim; 1 of 10 awards given in the country,
one of their innovative Saturday programs.
Applying and writing for grants is
something that they do in their spare time!
The point I see here is, there is no arguing, that safety issues take more
than time but also money. There
is no getting around the fact that
Westerville's growth is fast and
furious. Safety issues also will continue to come with
that growth. Financially,
we need to accept that fact. As a community, we
may never fully agree on how to spend every dollar, but part of the reason
our continued growth, is that we can take pride in our safe schools. When it
comes to issues of safety, there is no going back, no room for cutting costs
any risk taking. It has taken
time to build relationships between our
schools and local police departments,
creating trust between our students and
school resource officers. The
system works because they work together for the
common goal of safety! What has
taken years to build cannot be cut or decreased
whether new grants are awarded or new levies are passed. I can give you over
14,000 very special reasons why. We are now the 9th largest school district
Ohio! That is fact! I know I will be voting in November to pass
upcoming levy to support our growing community;
the safety issue is just one
important reason why.
Safe schools are not just the responsibility of Mr. Hershiser, the school
board or our police department but our entire community. Finally, working
together, that's the key!
Thank you, Cheree Richards