Letters to the Editor Week of 2/24/20

Press readers

Weighing the levy
To the editor: Before the March 17 levy election in the Oregon School District, voters should know the most recent contract with the teachers’ union gave a total increase of 8.6 percent between now and 2022 and in November a vote was taken to increase the salaries of seven different job classifications.
The last annual 5-year forecast indicated the money would not be there. From the 2015/2016 school year through last school year the district report card showed grades of mostly C or below except for the 2017/18 year. This includes four F’s, six D’s and 5 C’s. The only category where an “A” was obtained and maintained during the entire four year reporting period is the graduation rate.
The “Prepared for Success” category indicates a grade of D for the years 2015–17 and a grade of F for the last two reported years. Does this mean the schools are just passing students through with little or no skills to succeed in life?
The 2018 Ohio Department of Education’s district profile report states that Oregon’s salaries for teachers are more than $1,500 above the state average and almost $3,000 above similar districts. Oregon administrators have a salary almost $11,000 above both the state average and similar districts.
The 23.27 percent of operating expenditures spent by Oregon for fringe benefits is another area where Oregon is above the state average by 2.2 percent and 1.63 percent above similar districts. The salaries which account for 58.73 percent of operating expenditures spent by the district are 5.48 percent above the state average and 3.59 percent above similar districts (2018 ODE) and do not even take into account additional contract raises and the 2 percent step increases.
Since it is my understanding several administrators do not even live in Oregon, I wonder if they fully appreciate what this levy will do to the citizens of Oregon 65 years old and older.
A 1997 Ohio Supreme Court ruling found school funding with property taxes is unconstitutional yet the tradition continues. While Oregon City Schools can present pretty graphs and tell stories, know the facts before you vote.
Sue LaPointe

``Hands-Free” bill
merits support
To the editor: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is urging state legislators to pass a bipartisan bill sponsored by Sen. Stephanie Kunze, R-Hilliard, and Sen. Sean O’Brien, D-Bazetta, that would drastically change Ohio’s distracted driving law.
I urge all state legislators to quickly pass this legislation.
The bill, being touted as the “Hands-Free Ohio” bill, changes current law in many ways, but the most significant change regards distracted driving while using cell phones, changing the violation from a secondary offense to a primary offense.
Law enforcement may not initiate a traffic stop for just a secondary offense, but can for a primary offense. In other words, if an officer observes a driver committing a secondary offense, the driver must also commit a primary offense to give the officer probable cause to pull that driver over.
If passed and signed into law, the bill also changes the legality of how drivers handle cell phones. Currently, using a hand-held wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text message is a secondary offense for adults, with a possible fine of $150.
The bill would make it a primary offense for anyone who uses a hand-held communications device to write, read, or send a text message while driving, in addition to watching or recording videos, taking photos or looking at images, live streaming, using apps, entering information into GPS navigation programs, dialing phone numbers, and/or holding a phone for a phone call.
The bill will also increase fines for drivers who habitually use such devices while driving. A first offense will result in a $150 fine, but a second offense within a three-year period would increase that fine to $250, and a third offense calls for a $500 fine. Additionally, a first offense will get a driver two points on their record, and a second and third offense would result in 3 and 4 points, respectively.
There are exemptions built into the bill for using hand-held cell phones to make emergency calls, for using devices while in a stationary position outside a lane of traffic, and in a hands-free mode to talk on the phone. To use any device for GPS purposes, the data must first be entered before driving begins, and the device may not be held or supported by the driver’s body.
There are those in law enforcement who have professed for some time that distracted driving will continue to injure and kill people as long as it is only a secondary offense and until it “hurts people in the wallet.” This bill accomplishes both.
Distracted driving is quickly becoming a major cause of vehicle crashes in Ohio and across the country. It is time we all take this problem seriously and do more to stop the scourge that is injuring and killing people on our highways.
Ron Craig
Crime Prevention Officer/
Community Policing Officer
Lake Twp. Police Dept.

Nice article
To the editor: I thank Pat Eaken for writing such a wonderful article about our son, Blake. I am not certain where your inspiration came from but thank you. The transition from going to school on the island to changing our lives for him to pursue his dream has come with so much support from our island community and the people of Oak Harbor.
Put-in-Bay was the only home he ever knew until my parents opened up their home for him to attend mainland school. Between your article and Blake breaking the school three-point record Friday it was a big week for him.
Jen Booker


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