OUR VIEW: If you want to send a message…

You’ll rarely see us oppose any tax renewal, and with good reason.

We often hear folks say they want to “send a message that taxes are too high” by opposing issues supporting Oberlin’s schools, city services, library, and other worthy area causes.

Do not be mistaken: Taking that frustration out on local government agencies does not send a message, or at least not to the right people.

The five Oberlin renewal levies on the March 15 ballot here in town are all important, but we want to hone in on Issue 25, which keeps the day-to-day business of the city’s public schools funded, and Issue 26, which gives educators the tools and buildings they need to make learning possible.

In the course of reporting, we spend considerable time in schools up and down Rt. 58. We do not see many frills. We see teachers who spin straw into gold every day. We see pennies stretched and dollars scrimped. This is not unique to Oberlin; education is hurting.

If you want to send a political message by voting to cut the Oberlin Schools’ funding by millions of dollars, it will not change the basic necessities of the district. It will not help the teachers who stay up late making lesson plans. It will not help the treasurer, who worries every hour about interest rates. It will not help the principals who are tasked with rallying the troops. And it will only hurt the students, whose ability to learn today will make or break Ohio tomorrow.

But worst of all, the message will not reach the deaf ears in Columbus. We keep electing do-nothing officials when it comes to education. They’ve sat for a decade and a half, content to unconstitutionally fund our students’ futures.

Think about that a moment: With every budget passed, with every educational edict rolled out, state lawmakers are state lawbreakers. They are violating the highest law of our state by refusing to put money where it should go — which means they push the burden of funding education down to you.

They do not care whether you vote yes or no for local schools. They’ve proven that will 14 years of inaction on school funding reform.

So think twice when you step up to the voting machine Tuesday. Ask yourself: Are taxes too high, or are the wrong politicians in charge?