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SALT & 14,000 kids
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Comments presented to the Board of Education Meeting 2/23/04

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     Major hurdles in this election and the one last November have been combating misinformation, misguided anger, and apathy.  No matter how well the facts and figures are stacked in the favor of this district, many in the community have decided they can and will find fault in just about every aspect of this district.  Our course offerings and school choices have been attacked.  Our athletics have been attacked.  Our teachers, administrators, staff, and board have been attacked.  People have gone over this district with a fine toothed comb in order to find a reason, any reason, to vote down a levy.

 

     I, for one, am growing very weary of this.  I am tired of the attacks.  I am tired of the misrepresentations.  I am tired of the community trying to micromanage every aspect of our district instead of leaving these things, for the most part, in the hands of the people we have elected and hired to run this district.  But most of all, I am tired that the children have been forgotten.

                                       

     On the back of my shirt, for all to see, are my children:  Sam Annelise Lydia and Tim.  I refer to them as The SALT of my earth.  I only regret that there is not enough room on my shirt to show the faces of my other 14,000 children - the children of the Westerville School District.

 

     I'm sure that some people will be angry that I'm standing up here this evening to talk about my children.  They would prefer I hide my 14,000 children away from view, because without the presence of my children, it is easier to pretend that schools and education have nothing to do with kids.  They can make unrealistic claims that teaching children does not cost money and can pretend that cuts in funding can be made in such a way as to not hurt the children because the children are out of sight and out of mind.  They can also pretend that if children are harmed, it is the boards fault.  I believe, however, that the faces of my children remind people, deep down in their hearts, of the incredible responsibility we all have toward their education and upbringing, because after all, children are the future of our community.

 

     My purpose here this evening is to remind people that this issue is about children.  Our system of educational funding in Ohio is unconstitutional.  That is a fact.  It is unconstitutional because overall it fails children, not because it fails homeowners or businesses.   We, as a community, have the ability to choose, however, if we are going to fail our children or if we are going to accept responsibility for them and our own future.  Failing our children will not make Ohio school funding constitutional.  Failing our children will not brighten the future of our community.

 

On the front of my shirt, is my heart in the form of a Mine + 9 emblem.  In my heartis a schoolhouse - no hidden agendas, no twisted facts, and no rumors.  There is just a schoolhouse for the education of my 14,000 children.

      If you have received an email from me in the last couple of months, you may have noticed my signature line which states:

 

"A man never stands as tall as when he kneels to help a child."

 

On March 2, I would urge everyone in this community to look into their own hearts, stand tall, unite and vote "Yes" for the kids.

 

Betsy Binnig

 

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Westerville Voters On Target for Education