Reprinted courtesy of the Westerville News & Public Opinion/SNP
ęCopyright Suburban News Publications, Columbus, Ohio,
Originally published September 17, 2003
WeVote group plans informational meeting at library
By JOHN SHERIDAN
It is less than two months until Westerville residents will go
polls to vote on a school operating levy, and at least one group is
trying to mobilize the community to get the word out.
WeVote, who describe themselves as a "group of concerned citizens," are
planning another public meeting to be held in at
Meeting Room B at the Westerville Public Library,
126 S. State St.
Group members also are attempting to establish a community liaison in
every neighborhood in the school district to facilitate communication
and make sure all voters know the issues when they go to the polls Nov.
At issue is a three-year 7.5 mill operating budget which would raise
the property taxes for homeowners $230 annually per $100,000 of
WeVote supports the levy, and say the funds are needed to ensure
Westerville students receive high quality education,
that is why the
neighborhood liaisons are so important, said Michael Kelley, a Hanby
parent who helped organize the group.
"A neighborhood liaison is a man or woman on street who can communicate
back and forth the concerns they hear in neighborhood back to WeVote,
(WeVote will then) supply accurate information back to them and ask them
to convey that information back to neighborhood. It is that informal,"
WeVote members say they are not simply school district lackeys, but
through research provided both by the school district and other sources,
including the Ohio Department of Education and other districts,
recognize a need for more school funding in Westerville.
This will be the group's second public meeting. About 50 people
attended the first meeting, and more have checked out the group on their
Web site at http://wevote2003.tripod.com/wevote/index.html. As of
Tuesday afternoon the site's counter had logged 563 hits.
On the Web site users can take the group's 27-question survey with
questions such as "In general I understand school financing," "I
understand the difference between operating expenses and capital
expenses," and "I understand the enhanced operating levy proposal that
will appear on the ballot in November."
The group plans on sharing the results of the
survey with the district
after the levy. But in the immediate future the Sept. 18 meeting is what
group members are focusing on.
Pam Warrick-Schkolnic who is employed as a psychologist with the
Westerville City School
District said she is involved with WeVote
not as a school employee, but as a concerned parent of two children in
"We want to get information out to people," she said. "They are not
aware of how cuts will affect them and their children."
Warrick-Schkolnic said people have valid concerns in many areas
regarding the levy, and these concerns need to be addressed, but said,
"Let's not do that by voting against the levy."
Instead, voters should be provided with better information, and one way
to get that information is by attending meetings like WeVote and getting
facts, she said.
Read more Central Ohio community news at www.SNPonline.com