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Reprinted courtesy of the Westerville News & Public Opinion/SNP

ęCopyright Suburban News Publications, Columbus, Ohio, 2003

Originally published September 17, 2003

WeVote group plans informational meeting at library Thursday night


It is less than two months until Westerville residents will go to the

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 7 p.m. Thursday in

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,"

said Kelley.

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 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

the district.

"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.


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Westerville Voters on Target for Education