WEST UNION, Ohio — Concerned citizens, parents, and teachers gathered and started a campaign to promote and spread awareness of the Adams County Ohio Valley School District school safety levy.
The levy will appear on the General Election ballot on Nov. 6.
According to Chair of the Adams County Citizens for Safe Schools committee, Tom Putnam, “We got together as a group of concerned parents and educators in June. We petitioned the Board of Education to put a levy on the ballot… It’s not fair to take money that is designed to benefit the education of all the students and hiring more guards and getting building improvements.”
”We feel as a community that our children are worth the investment of actually having a separate funding source for nothing but safety and security. If we did that and we passed the levy, we will be able to take almost a quarter million dollars, which we are taking out of educational funds now for safety and security, and put it back into education where it belongs and fund security separately from that,” Putnam said.
If the levy is successful in passing, it will amp up the school district’s security, he said.
“We also wanted to look at the actual physical security of the schools, they were designed back before the days of Columbine. There wasn’t really a whole lot of thought given to school security and keeping out intruders,” Putnam said.
“The school has taken the bull by the horn the last three years on the basis of doing nothing is not an option, we realized we need to do some stuff with the schools and put some safety film down on all the first floor windows around the school. I noticed, as a volunteer school resource officer, a real weakness we have is the fact that our children are out in an open lot at recess. It is open to vehicles and other traffic that could potentially harm them, so we need to look at putting up some type of anti-vehicular fencing around the playgrounds.”
The levy will also provide the schools with school resource officers, and mental health professionals.
“We came to the conclusion that what we needed was not a patch work of repairs done on the security issues but a comprehensive program that took into account not only having armed resource officers at every one of the seven buildings in the school district but also bringing in and hiring mental health experts that would be assigned to each attendance area within the school district. We would have three, one in Peebles, North Adams and West Union,” Putnam said.
“You know, in every one of these shootings, there’s a mental health component to it and we felt like that was something that needed to be addressed.,” he said. “I’d rather us have these resources readily available inside of our schools, so when a threat happens we are able to handle it there however we need to. ”
In June, officials approved the school safety and security levy for the ballot, which is a 2.45 mill addition to property tax on the five-year levy. In Adams County for the average $100,000 home, that will be $85 dollars a year.
Putnam also added “Now were reaching out to the communities and making them aware with what we’re trying to do with this levy. We’re trying to get the community to step up to the plate and say ‘here we are, we think our kids’ safety is worth the investment. “