The Streetsboro City Schools' buildings, with the exception of Henry Defer Intermediate School, were all built in the 1950s and '60s. Since then, many students has experienced less than optimum school facilities. Voters can change that on Nov. 5 by voting "For" Issue 22, a combined 4.56-mill bond and .5-mill permanent improvement levy to overhaul the district's school buildings.
Overcrowding is a critical issue in the district. Over the years, Streetsboro High School has been bolstered by four trailers housing seven classrooms, and the middle school has one trailer. All the buildings are full, or more than full, this year.
But the need for new facilities goes beyond mere space. Education itself has changed, both with respect to best practices and technology. All the buildings' electrical systems have been jury-rigged to accommodate the massive amount of wiring necessary to provide ready access to computers and other technology in the classrooms. Nowhere is this more prevalent than at the high school where exposed electrical wires line the hallways above old class photos from the 1960s and '70s.
Businesses today are seeking graduates who know how to think critically, to work collaboratively and synthesize information from various sources. More space is needed for interdisciplinary projects, group work and collaboration. Larger, more flexible classrooms laid out in a manner allowing greater collaboration of teachers and students is needed to accommodate this sea change in educational philosophy since many adults were students.
Another change is the focus on individualized education. With testing and the desire to help as many students excel on state testing as possible comes small group intervention and tutoring, which was not conceived of when the district's buildings were built.
As a result, closets have been called into service as small group tutoring areas, offices have been converted to tutoring rooms and teachers and administrators have been bumped from what would have been their offices. At Wait, teachers' only office area is on the stage in the old gym.
The cost of Issue 22 to the owner of a home valued at $100,000 is $14.76 per month, or $177.12 a year.
The school district is asking a lot, to be sure, but this is a worthwhile investment in the community, one which may even pay dividends in higher property values as homes are sold in years to come.
More importantly, approval of Issue 22 would help provide students the best education possible, and that can be truly priceless.