by Lynn Mangan
After listening to the community meeting last Thursday night at the high school, I felt very compelled to write out why I am a yes on the levy.
First, let me introduce myself. We have lived in Loveland City Schools for almost 23 years. We moved to Loveland when I was expecting our oldest son. My husband, Pat and I have four boys (two are in college) and the younger two are in 10th and 8th grade. I am a wife, mother, family/community member, and business executive. When I look at whether I want to vote yes or no to the levy I try to think about it from all of the angles of who I am.
As a mom:
- I am grateful that we are focusing on the total child. We are creating problem solvers, continuous learners, preparing students for their next steps (trades, military or college), and challenging them to try as many new things as possible. We are creating well rounded young adults. And the district is not ignoring the increase of mental health disease. I have numerous examples over the years of teachers who believed in and advocated for my boys to be their best selves.
- I am grateful for a school district that keeps my children safe and is calling in the experts to keep it that way (I was happy to hear we have engaged the Department of Homeland Security to make recommendations on how to do this). And I’m extremely sad that the safety of our children even has to be on the list.
As a business executive and community member:
- I am grateful that the school district is fiscally responsible. Keeping healthcare rates at only 2.2% is unheard of (can my business hire whoever is in charge of this at the district?). Making sure that as many dollars as possible can be put towards the staff serving our children vs on extraneous expenses. The people are what make it happen in every organization and schools are no exception. I appreciate that the district is also reducing energy costs wherever possible too.
- The curriculum is expanding to prepare children for the real world. I’ve seen firsthand the expansion of so many programs: computer science, robotics, life skills, music, etc. A focus on continuous improvement is an absolute must.
- Our district leaders are being creative problem solvers and passing on savings when possible (ex. change in the levy structure).
- I appreciate the balance in the focus on improved learning spaces for our children, increasing our curriculum, making the spaces safer and a focus on the whole student. As a business executive, we have to focus on employee engagement – that means we have facilities that are not 100% about work – just like the school has to improve the facilities for arts and athletics. And the auditorium move is the best use of space to expand the learning areas first. And at the middle school, the track and bleachers are atrocious and unsafe. I don’t really think the baseball fields are necessary but that is okay. At work, we always debate the best choices. It is an 80%/20%. I am happy and confident with 80% of the choices in this plan and that feedback and experts have been engaged to come up with a solid plan.
I’ll be candid…at first, I was a no. My kids are going to graduate before most of this will be in place. Then I asked myself: If this was a non-profit would I donate to them? Would I want to spend my time helping improve the schools? Does it benefit my family if we say yes even without children in the district?
How does it impact our family budget?
- I recognize not everyone is in the same situation as our family. When my kids graduate, the money that we’re currently paying for their extracurricular activities will now go to the schools when the levy passes. This might seem like a strange way to justify it as obviously we’ll be helping with college tuition. It provides me with perspective that even over 37 years this is worth it so that other children and our entire community can benefit.
- My family has already benefited from increasing home values. We moved within the district three years ago so that my mom could move in with us. Our home sold in one day and it was over asking price. My hope is that when we downsize after our kids graduate, we’ll have the same experience that our home values continue to increase for the benefit of our entire community. I want Loveland students to be known as solid citizens and our continued investment in our schools does this.
I believe in the leadership of the district
- And most importantly, I believe in the leadership of the district. Is every decision they make the right one? Nope…and who am I to hold them to that unreasonable standard? I give them a lot of credit for their composure and well thought out plan. It is extremely hard to go in front of 1000s of people to present a plan like this.
- Does it stink that we have to pay this much property tax? Yes, it does, and I made the choice to live in a community where there aren’t businesses to fund the school system. I grew up in Sycamore and my husband went to Catholic schools. We believe in public schools and didn’t want to pay the huge home prices in Sycamore schools. Of course, I would love to have less taxes due to all the businesses in Sycamore schools. It’s a tradeoff. I’ll take the tradeoff and pay for the increase to invest in our children and our community.
Overall, no plan will ever be without ways to make it better. I appreciate that the district has asked for feedback, been transparent and is continuing to strive for what is best for our students. I am thankful for teachers that advocate for my children and want to see them succeed in their class and in life. I am a yes.