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Thursday, March 18, 2004

School district split hurts townships


Your voice: Chris Worley

Oxford, Ohio: beautiful, serene, wild, crazy. Home to Redhawks, tradition, parties. Center for knowledge, culture, conflict. For years, the local Talawanda School District has had problems with funding. Bond levies are voted down. The district's infrastructure deteriorates. Quality teachers cannot be paid adequate wages. And all this makes it difficult for Miami University to attract new faculty.

To the rescue, a group of Miami professors and Oxford residents form the Talawanda School Reorganization Committee (TSRC) to solve the problem. The cause is identified. From the beginning of time, school bond issues have been defeated by the outliers: Hanover, Reilly and Milford townships. Oxford Township always votes for the bonds, but is stymied by the majority.

The inference is obvious. The outlying townships do not want to pay for quality schools. The solution is clear - split, segregate the district! The TSRC devises a unilateral procedure to solve the problem: Oxford Township will conduct a private vote to split the Talawanda School District, removing itself from the old district to start a new school system while leaving the current problems for the outlying townships.

Under the guise of self-determination, Oxford Township extricates itself from a capital-starved school system with a unilateral vote.

Wait! I live in Hanover Township and voted for every school bond, and so did my wife and my neighbors with school-age children. The inference is incorrect.

We want great teachers and new buildings for our children. How disgusting is the TSRC inference that we want less? That we aspire to less? We vote yes for school bonds, and have been stymied by the majority also. This false inference has become the springboard for a new segregation - public education elitism. TSRC is selling a "separate but equal" agenda for the Talawanda School District.

The futures of four townships are conjoined by this school district. A vote by Oxford Township to split the district is equally a vote to segregate the children of Hanover, Reilly and Milford townships; to assign them an inferior school system that cannot support itself; and to depreciate these property values. Separate is never equal and always an abomination to American values.

How ironic that a vote for a segregated local school system is needed to attract high-quality educators to a great university.

Chris Worley is a resident of Hanover Township and a 1988 graduate of Miami University.

Send your column or proposed topic, 400 words or fewer, along with a photo of yourself, to assistant editorial editor Ray Cooklis at rcooklis@enquirer.com; (513) 768-8525.



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