Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 17, 2013

In Your View

The Independent

ASHLAND — Help repeal tax with a ‘yes’ vote

I drive through Westwood and I see all the signs that say, “Vote for the kids.” What about the rest of the community?

I  have lived in Westwood for more than 50 years. I have paid my taxes and supported the school through fundraisers, volunteering and so on. Now the Fairview Board of Education wants to raise my taxes and on one of the most essential things — utilities.

With the rising costs of groceries, gasoline, health care and property tax increases for the last four years, how much more can those on a fixed income take?

I read an “In Your View”  letter from a tax supporter who said the 3 percent utilities tax could help the school board lower our property tax. But it’s funny they say that now right before the election, because at the open house meetings they said they are not going to promise to lower property taxes and also cannot promise exactly what the money will be used for.

I read in the paper at the start of school year Fairview, along with a few other schools, chose to offer free lunches to the whole school because the number of children was so high they qualified for free lunch. I think it was 40 to 50 percent.  If this many Westwood residents qualify for free lunches, then how many of those households can afford more taxes when they can’t pay for daily needs of their children?

 So on Feb. 19, vote “yes” to recall the utility tax, not just for the elderly, disabled, unemployed and underemployed, but also for the kids of those families, too, and our whole community.

Janice Blevins, Westwood

Ballot on utility tax confusing

On Dec. 26, the Fairview Board of Education imposed a 3 percent utility tax on all residents in the Fairview Independent School District. On Dec 28, a committee to petition for a vote by the people concerning this tax was sworn in to canvass the district.

The committee collected more than double the amount of names needed to recall the tax. The board sued the committee, using taxpayer funds, to stop the petition to allow a vote by the people. A second petition was collected with the same result.

After many obstacles placed before us, we have completed our task to allow the residents the right to vote on this tax. We haven’t had the resources financially to compete against the funds being used for lawyers, mass mailings, signs and robo-calls. We’ve had to walk to every door to talk with residents.

Now another obstacle is facing the voters. The ballot is very confusing. The tax has already been placed on the people. Thus, the issue on the ballot is to repeal the tax. If you want to stop this tax from being put on us, you have to vote “yes.” If you want to pay this tax, you should vote “no.”

We hope our efforts have not been in vain, and that you will exercise the treasured right you have to vote on the taxes levied on you. Five people should not dictate how much taxes you pay.

Please let your vote count on Feb 19. The committee hopes you will vote “yes” to stop the tax being forced on our community.

Brenda Weis, Committee to Repeal Tax, Westwood

Support our kids by backing tax

I am a 1970 graduate of Fairview High School. I have been reading in the newspaper about this tax levy to rebuild Fairview High School.

I have been paying close attention to what opponents of the levy have been saying about how residents just can’t afford to pay the tax because times are too bad today.

Well, I am old enough to remember bad times in the 1950s and 1960s. I remember when my father was only getting one or two days of work a week at a local brickyard in Ashland. I remember the day the bank came to repossess my father’s 1958 Ford. Next, the house was taken, too.

We picked up our food commodities at the courthouse so we could at least eat. That was embarrassing to my family.

Times are much better today. Indeed, folks on Social Security get pay increases. Minimum wage is much higher today.

I think it is time to think about our kids today and what they need. Remember, it is better to give than to receive.

Fred Sturgill, Westwood


A ‘no’ vote will support schools

My name is Megan, and I am a sixth-grader at Fairview Middle School. I would like to have a utility tax because I want to graduate from Fairview. My grandmother and my dad graduated from here, and I want to do the same one day.

Fairview is a good school because it’s successful, and it’s a small school. It is easy to make friends. The teachers help you get a good education. Everyone is nice, friendly and treats you with respect. Please vote “no” on Feb. 19 to save our school!

Megan Dunn, Fairview student

‘No’ vote will help save her school

I’m a 12-yeai old girl and I go Fairview Middle School. I’m new to Fairview this year, but I love it much more than my old school. All the students and teachers are so nice, and I made so many friends just on my first day.

Both of my parents graduated from this school, and I would like to, too. I understand that most people have reasons not to vote to have more taxes, but that is only because they think it will cost them more money than they think.

It is only going to cost you 3 percent of your utility bills. This is why students  at Fairview want everybody to vote “no.” If you vote “yes,” there is a chance that most of the students at Fairview probably won’t graduate from Fairview High School. Vote  “no” on the tax and my school and my happiness will be saved.

   Chloe Justice, Fairview student

Fairview High needs renovations

I am a proud student at Fairview Middle School, and I would like to explain to you why we need the tax levy passed.

I have been at Fairview since I was in preschool. In this time, I have had the most amazing, caring teachers that only a small school can offer! Even though I live out of district, I would never choose any other school!  I don't have to go to Fairview, but I want to!

I wish I lived in the district, so my parents could pay taxes to Fairview! My school has taught me how to read and write, do math, and a lot of other things! As I have gotten older, I have learned so much stuff at this school. So, I would like to tell the world why Fairview needs the tax passed!

First, Fairview High School has been around for more than 60 years.  Since then, we have not had any major renovations done to our school. Second, when it rains hard, the water comes through the windows. Third, when it is hot outside, the air conditioning hardly even works, which makes it a hard environment to learn in. When it is cold outside, our heat hardly works. That makes students and teachers wear heavy coats and other thick clothes around school.

So, please vote "no" on Feb. 19.  We need a school where students can learn in an environment that is comfortable!

Shaina Ward, Fairview student

He’d support tax if he could vote

“Of all the schools we love ole Fairview best, the little ones big ones and all the rest.  We always cling to you and faithful be, no matter where in later life we chance to be.  The memories of you will be so dear and you will always fill our hearts with cheer.  We always love to best ol’ Fairview School, Fairview School, Rah, rah, rah!” — Fairview fight song.

After reading all the letters,  I’ve noticed two common themes are athletics and out-of-district students. The writers seem to forget that Fairview has great test scores, a high graduation rate and has produced many highly professional people in many fields.

Some of the naysayers are up in arms about students transferring to play sports, but fail to realize many transfer for the academics, the class sizes and family atmosphere of Fairview.  The school has the choice to accept these out-of-district students based on their academic achievement, attendance, behavior and so on.

The Department of Education has already announced that there will be no textbook money or technology money allotted to Kentucky schools for the next four years. Districts are going to have to make up the difference to provide the needed resources to students. 

Even without transfer students, these are all things that students need to stay. 

I do not live in Westwood anymore, but if I did, there’s no doubt what my vote would be.  I’ll always support my Eagles!

 Larry Salyers, Ashland