Euclid issue 111 and the cost of a cup of coffee. Who does it really hurt?

A breakdown of the utilization of free and reduced lunch per school as of October 2015.

Euclid's schools want more from you with issue 111, to a tune of anywhere around 200 dollars a year (or more) to support the construction of new buildings. Not books, not wages, not programs, not student support. Just for construction. They've been less than forthcoming with the real economic impact; it recently surfaced that former superintendent Keith Bell said in a testimony to the State of Ohio 18 months ago that Euclid couldn't afford another tax increase.  Euclid School representatives have repeatedly tried to belittle the impact of this ad "it’s the cost of a pizza" or "a Starbucks coffee".

Since they've decided to talk about food, let’s talk about the school's lunch programs.

In public records, there's a breakdown of the total enrollment in the school lunch programs, meaning free and reduced lunches, in the city. These are government funded programs are for students whose family meets certain economic requirements, lower incomes, like a lot of us, (myself included) making ends meet the best way they can. The USDA website says: "The National School Lunch Program is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day". The NSLP provides free meal services to children from families that have their income at 130 percent of the poverty level or lower.  Families with income from 130 to 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for reduced cost lunches.  

I've discovered through calculation and public record that as of October 2015, over half of the enrollment at every Euclid public school is enrolled in either free or reduced lunch programs. Over fifty percent of the kids currently attending school in Euclid come from families that meet low income requirements to get free or reduced lunches. In some schools that number is substantially higher than 50 percent. In my neighborhood, Shoreview Elementary is at 81.19 percent of kids enrolled in the Free or Reduced lunch program.

Much like these families, my household lives "paycheck to paycheck" and we scrimp and save when we want something deemed a luxury or unnecessary item. I cannot understand how a school system and a school board can look at those sorts of numbers and even consider asking the parents of those students for even more out of their paychecks. Let alone for the next 37 years! As a matter of fact, our school board voted unanimously to approve issue 111.

I think our School Administration has their priorities out of alignment. Our residents, both with school age kids or not, deserve the school's support during these troubling financial times. Not vice-versa. We've already given these schools 70% of Euclid's property taxes in addition to over 6 million a year from our collective income taxes and in the last council meeting on October 17th, it was pointed out from a resident that the schools are showing a 3 million dollar surplus in their budget.

Doesn’t it seem ridiculous for our schools ask for more from the citizens who are already getting assistance to even feed the kids who go there?  Keith Bell saw this, that's why he petitioned the state 18 months ago for a break. Saying: "In 2009, our economically disadvantaged student population was 51 percent. Today our economically disadvantaged student population is 73 percent". His statements make even more sense when I say "We simply cannot afford issue 111".

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Guy Wolford

Guy Wolford is a homeowner in Euclid Ohio, and has written articles for both print and online publications since 2001.  A budding activist, Guy and his family enjoy taking advantage of all of the activities Euclid has to offer and always look for ways to get involved in helping to improve their city.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 6:53 PM, 11.07.2016