This past November, voters rejected a request for a sales tax increase that would have financed an expansion of the county jail and built a new county office building. More recently, this spring, the electorate said “no” to helping cover the rising costs of foster care and adult protective services.
But voters, most of whom are also taxpayers, also have a solid history of approving requests for more funding — if the case can be made for it.
Such was the case when a sizeable bond levy to build both new Donnell and Central middle schools and the new Millstream Vo-Ed building was put to the ballot in 2009.
Another example came the same year, when voters supported a bump in the county sales tax to pay for flood-control efforts. That tax expires at year’s end.
Now, Findlay City Schools seem to have a valid reason — school security — for asking voters for more money.
The board, this week, took the first step to putting a 1.5-mill, five-year levy up for vote that would, if approved, generate between $1.2 and $1.3 million annually. The funds would be spent in three areas in the city school system: security personnel; mental health; and safety and security equipment and training.
While school security is one of those issues seemingly everyone would support, school officials will still have to work to convince voters to vote “yes.”
Getting people to support a school security levy will require a full explanation of what they will get for their money.
A point should be made that at a cost of only about $1 a week (for the owners of a property valued at $100,000), city schools will be made safer for all of the district’s K-12 students.
Even though specifics about security plans and exact placement of officers throughout the district, and certain other details, won’t and shouldn’t be revealed, showing where and how levy dollars will be spent will be important information to relay to the public.
One of the big selling points, it would seem, is a partnership with the City of Findlay, which will be sharing in the cost of police officers hired for security duty. Another is that all city schools, not just the high school, will benefit from increased security measures called for under the new plan.
The fact that the levy would extend for only five years would also be a selling point.
The new school year starts soon. Officials must take every opportunity to discuss the levy and how important it is in today’s world.
It’s always easier to vote “no” than “yes.” But, if school officials do a good job justifying the need for more and better security in our city’s public schools, we have to believe voters will do the right thing and support the levy request on Nov. 6.