Teachers and students reflect on the success of the levy

By Jane Eskildsen, ‘15

At approximately 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6, Star Simpson, Co-President of the Upper Arlington Education Association, held her breath. She and her co-workers waited desperately for the news they had been waiting months to hear.

Simpson was relieved when she heard that 57 percent of Upper Arlington residents supported Issue 52. The 2013 UA school’s levy had passed.

“Last year was really hard, with all the people who lost their jobs,” Simpson said. “I know that in the press it seems like just numbers, but they were people. They were families.”

Lynn Reese, a UAEA representative, was also hopeful for success of the levy.

“I hope the passage of the levy allows Upper Arlington Schools to continue their tradition of excellence,” Reese said.

The failure of the 2012 levy resulted in 25 lost jobs. According to the UAEA website, if the levy had failed again, 68 more jobs would have been cut.

Senior Sean Doyle, a strong opposer of the levy, disagreed with Simpson and Reese. He believes that UA schools should try to run more on ability rather than money.

“I hope to see us achieve success and surpass other districts,” Doyle said. “But we can’t do this by using unsustainable budgets, high student costs and high property taxes to try [and] buy that success.”

Doyle suggests that the school board, administration and union try and negotiate a way to fit the needs of our school without cutting teachers and programs.

Superintendent Paul Imhoff had a similar idea when he began the Upper Arlington Efficiency Project. Imhoff initiated the project to cut costs without affecting the educational experience of students.

“The goal of this project is to be more efficient with the money we asked for without impacting students or quality,” Imhoff said.

Imhoff hopes to see not only the different schools in the district working together, but also the schools and the community combining efforts. He would like to cut costs while maintaining the quality of the school system.

Although originally daunted by the idea of a failed levy, Reese can finally take a sigh of relief with the rest of the UA levy supporters.

“I would be heartbroken to watch the excellence of this district slowly erode as a result of repeatedly failed levies,” Reese said. “The passage of the levy allows Upper Arlington Schools to continue their tradition of excellence.”