Highland Elementary student Lucas Wholehan, 6, reads a statement during a pep rally at Northview High School. Helping him is his principal Paul Gibbs. Others from left are Noah Andres, Lucas Wholehan, Livia Ford and Jae Choi. Adult in back is Highland Parent Org treasurer Kelli Andres.
Students and staff wore their Sylvania best for the spirited levy campaign kick-off held at Northview High School Tuesday night.
Hundreds of parents and students gathered in the school gymnasium for the Celebration of our Schools event that officially marked the start of the schools effort to pass a 3.8-mill operating levy on May 6.
PHOTO GALLERY: Sylvania levy campaign kicks off
Children proudly displayed their school’s spirit wear and were called up to the stage by the night’s emcee Adam Fineske, curriculum director, to speak about why they love their school.
Central Trail Elementary School children were called up to the stage first, each holding up a letter of the school’s name, shouting out “A” for art, “I” for imagination, and “L” for the love they hold for the school and its school family.
Community leaders, from Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough and Township Board of Trustees, also attended the event, some sporting the levy campaign shirt displaying the motto “Education for Success.”
Superintendent Brad Rieger asked individuals to spread the word talking to their friends, neighbors, and co-workers about the critical nature of the levy. Lawn signs were passed out for parents to display in their yards.
Mr. Rieger said the district has lost $11 million in state funding over the past four years. That, coupled with declining property values, are among reasons why additional funds are needed to help “recoup money lost and stabilize finances,” as well as continue the district's standard of education. The operating levy, which will be continuous, is estimated to collect $4.9 million a year and cost the owner of a $100,000 house $133 a year.
During the event that mimicked a pep rally with band music and cheerleaders, Mayor Stough spoke about the economic importance of the school district.
“We have all kinds of things that bring people to Sylvania. But the number one reason that people come to Sylvania is the quality of the Sylvania school system,” he said, adding it was the reason why his parents moved there in 1961.
Parents sold campaign shirts for $10 each with proceeds going toward the Committee for Sylvania’s Future, which oversees the effort. Committee Co-Chairman Cami Golding said it has planned speaking engagements with business and community leaders, as well as residents, to talk about the levy importance.
A school parent herself, Mrs. Golding said those without children enrolled in the district should vote for the levy because “the youth are our future. And other than life, education is one of the most important things.”
About 70 percent of school district residents are comprised of seniors and those without children attending a district school, officials said.
Mrs. Golding said that ProMedica, small businesses, and citizens have contributed to the campaign.
School parent Rita Smithers said she was impressed with the rally, saying it was a good start to a levy kick off. A levy supporter, she hopes it passes this time, because the last time it did not pass in 2010 the school cut personnel.
“We are concerned about the art and music programs,” she said.
The evening ended with a energetic routine performed by Northview's dance team, followed by Southview High School's Cougarettes. Officials pointed out the Cougarettes dance team just won the hip hop championship title on Sunday at a cheerleading and dance competition hosted by the Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators in Bowling Green -- one of many student accomplishments highlighted throughout the event.