Vote ‘No’ on School Bond Issue Proposal

On May 8, Ohio County voters will determine if the proposed $42.2 million bond issue is the best solution for school upgrades. First, let’s review a few numbers. Wheeling Park High School opened in the fall of 1976. The population in Ohio County was approximately 63,000. The school housed grades 10-12 with around 2,200 students.

Currently, Ohio County has an estimated 42,600 residents while Park High now has grades 9-12 with about 1,600 students. Total county population continues a downward trajectory, which only makes sense that student enrollment decreases as well.

Ohio County currently has 13 schools. With the continued student enrollment on the decline, I must ask, is there a need for 13 facilities? Sure, it’s easy for the school board to seek improvements for all facilities; they want to keep everyone happy. Unfortunately, that’s no way to run a business. And yes, the school board has the responsibility to run the school district as a business.

Maybe, just maybe, the school board should take a look at what Brooke County has done. Brooke County realized that their county population was shrinking and made some difficult decisions in regards to school buildings and upgrades. Brooke County built new facilities and consolidated various schools. This appears to be a win-win for both taxpayers and students alike. Change is difficult at times, but it is part of life.

So, do we need 13 facilities or are there other options? I would like that answered before approving millions of dollars to upgrade 13 facilities. Also, as a home owner, I put little faith in the annual cost that’s being touted. And for those that rent, your monthly rental will be sure to increase. Don’t expect your landlord to absorb the tax increase! Fewer tax payers means paying more of the costs.

I encourage registered voters in Ohio County to exercise the privilege to vote on May 8 and vote NO for the Ohio County school bond issue!

Rick Kreitzer

Wheeling

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