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Updated: Oct 1, 2020

by Pam Turos | Originally published in the Euclid Observer community newspaper. Two years ago, my husband and I were sitting at the dining room table with our oldest son who was half-way through his freshman year at the private high school he enthusiastically wanted to attend just one year earlier.

He wanted to change schools, and his reasons and concerns were legitimate enough that we were willing to help him consider all the options. It was a new thing for both of us — kids having so many choices (and opinions) about where to attend school. It’s also a privilege that many people don’t have.

When choosing schools for all three of my children, the decision has always been a balance between recognizing what each of my children needs to succeed and my belief that our current method of rating and funding public schools is deeply flawed. It is not easy to look past or investigate every inflammatory news story, viral social media post, and state test scores to try and connect with the heart and soul of a school community. But every time I have done so, it has been worth it for our family.

When my son decided he wanted to transfer to Euclid High School, he was already playing soccer with a nice group of kids from the school. So I talked to their parents, including many people who have always considered attendance at the local high school a given for their family — many of whom have been my children’s sports teammates, mentors, youth coaches, and theater idols. I talked with a neighbor whose son had transferred to Euclid from a local private high school to “catch up his grades.” He liked it so much he decided to stay, especially the elective Money Matters class, which I think should be a requirement in every public and private high school.

I talked to the teachers. I learned about the decades of experience held by most Euclid teachers and all of the non-traditional learning opportunities that are designed to help every student find something they can enjoy learning or doing, including a few programs that are nationally recognized — also something that will never be reflected in a standardized test score.

We knew several other Euclid families who were making similar decisions this time last year, and we shared notes and experiences along the way. I’m glad to report that all of those families ultimately chose Euclid schools.

As parents, we all want our children to be safe. So, I also talked to the Euclid High School resource officer and several other Euclid police officers to learn the facts behind their frequent presence at the school. I talked with the director of communications and multiple school board members to learn about their goals and the positive gains that Euclid schools are making, things I knew wouldn’t be reflected on a standardized test.

More than anything else, I am a mother doing my best to raise emotionally healthy, independent children who realize their potential, take pride in hard work, and can navigate happily in a diverse world. This year, as a sophomore at Euclid High School, our son has shown more indicators of this success than we have seen in him any year prior.

One of my most enduring beliefs is that we tend to see what we are looking for — both in other people and in our communities. During our school research phase and my first year as a parent returning to Euclid schools, I was looking for “the good.” Not just for my own family, but because I know that it’s too easy to get twisted up inside by all the fear-based, negative information that our culture thrives on. No matter what decision we made with our son, I wanted it to be a fair and informed decision. I also want to believe in the future of Euclid because this community is my home.

Thankfully, it did not take me long to connect with other people who are committed to these same values, including countless dedicated teachers, students, staff, parents, coaches, administration, and tireless volunteers who have welcomed us into their community. They are the heart and soul of Euclid schools. And they are our future.

by Jane Steger |Originally published in the Euclid Observer Community Newspaper

You get what you pay for. I believe Franklin D. Roosevelt’s statement, “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education,” is a truism; just like the statement, “you get what you pay for.”

We are very fortunate to live in a country where every child has access to education, but it’s never been free, and because “you get what you pay for,” it’s not equal. School systems in communities like Euclid get penalized on many fronts, such as loss of revenue through property taxes (population isn’t growing), state aid in the form of increased EdChoice vouchers, and shared income tax. As a Euclid voter, I didn’t start to understand school funding until I got involved with the Citizens For Euclid Schools committee (and I’m still learning).

Through my involvement with this committee, I’ve come to appreciate that schools reflect the quality and integrity of the individuals who get involved, challenge the status quo, and support decisions that put students first. And although we don’t have children in Euclid schools, I believe in paying it others did when I was in public schools.

The March 2020 levy represents a little over $19 per month for the average Euclid house worth $75,000. Keep In mind that this is what was being given to the schools prior to the failure of the 2018 renewal levy.

I hear many positive things from Euclid school parents, but for those of us without that ‘front row seat’, all we hear about is the “D” grade Euclid City Schools received on last year’s State Report card. Those who fully understand this grading system believe it is flawed as it penalizes communities with lower median household incomes. Knowing this, looked at the Report Card from a different perspective with the intent to highlight the districts that were beating the economic trends. According to their findings, Euclid schools ranked ahead of South Euclid-Lyndhurst, Cleveland Heights-University Heights, Shaker Heights, Richmond Heights, Berea, Bedford, Willoughby-Eastlake, Garfield Heights, Mentor, Maple Heights, Kirtland and Strongsville. And are ranked just behind the districts of Independence, Hudson, Kenston and Orange.

I know that supporting our schools is a tangible investment in our home and property; just like an investment in a new roof, a solid school system maintains and protects the investment we’ve made.

I also know that our taxes are high, but without strong schools, people will continue to leave Euclid or choose not to move here...thus requiring fewer of us to carry the tax burden and individually paying more. With strong schools, we attract families, which in turn attracts businesses resulting in a larger taxpayer base. You improve the schools and you'll improve the city.

I believe we are at a serious crossroads and not passing this levy will erode any progress made and limit the administration’s ability to provide a well-rounded school experience that every Euclid student deserves.

Let’s build a stronger community for all of us by voting YES on Issue 27 on or before March 17, 2020.

by Meghan Grisez | Originally published in the Euclid Observer community newspaper.

I am currently a senior and have been in Euclid City Schools all my life. I wouldn’t trade it for any other school district in Ohio. There is so much offered here at the high school that other schools simply don’t have. Many schools have had to cut art and music programs that I have had the luxury of enjoying.

Euclid has really given me the opportunities to get out there and show what I can do. I’ve played my violin since fourth grade, did show choir for a few years and am currently getting ready to play a teacher in this year’s up-coming musical production of “Fame!” Lots of people always come to see Big Show and it has become an annual tradition that the community looks forward to.

My experience at Euclid High School has well prepared me for my next step, and I’m excited to see what the future has in store for me.I love having a wonderful music program, and I am so grateful for our schools for not only encouraging our interests in the arts but also funding my passion for music. I have been first chair in the orchestra for three years now and I’m constantly striving to get better at what I love.

In addition to having a great arts program, I’ve also had the luxury of taking all sorts of college classes at Euclid High School for free. Since tenth grade, I’ve been able to take 12 college classes which will help me save money and get a headstart on college classes. They have helped me prepare for college and see what it is like. By taking these classes and doing my best, I’ve been able to get up to sixth in my class out of 346 students.

We also have so many great Career Tech programs. I know many students who have used these programs to get a good start toward their future careers. College isn’t right for everyone, so Career Tech gives kids another option. New college classes and Career Tech classes are added every year, so there are many options for kids who want to try something new.

I am a senior and will be going to college in the fall. I am planning on going to CSU. I’ve already been accepted and offered scholarships. I have an interest in film and am thinking of becoming a director. Because of my college credits, I will be further along in my education. My experience at Euclid High School has well prepared me for my next step, and I’m excited to see what the future has in store for me.

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