I decided to discuss this topic because it is a major concern for my hometown. Throughout high school, eliminating sports was always threatened as a way to save money, but the plan never carried through. Because of the economic situation of the school district, cutting school sports is a necessity with the failure of this levy. I chose to write the paper from the view of a student with the hopes of making the concern seem more meaningful. When researching this topic, I did not run into many obstacles. It was fairly easy to find information regarding the levy and the money that is involved. The personal perspective that I brought to the issue is strength because I have experienced the tension that a failed levy creates. If I had more time, I would have liked to interview random members of the community to ask their opinion on the issue. I feel that this would have brought more insight to the paper and would have made it more relatable. In writing the paper as an editorial to be posted in the newspaper, more people will be able to read my opinion and then form their own opinion. The main goal is to influence the public to support the levy and keep sports in school. I would give this paper an A because it is well-researched and has supporting evidence to make a valid argument.
Dear Editor of the Pataskala Standard,
I am a junior at Watkins Memorial High School and while some may think I was required to write this letter as a school assignment, they could not be more wrong. I am writing this letter to address the local community about my genuine concern over the future of the school district, particularly school sports, which is related to the upcoming levy. I do not think the levy is something that should be taken lightly. Should the residents of Pataskala support the levy that would use citizen’s taxes to pay for school sports? The answer is simple: yes. I think that the levy should be passed because school sports provide students learning opportunities not offered in the classroom.
School athletics are a positive aspect of high school and offer benefits for athletes that choose to participate. I have been involved in school athletics since the seventh grade and would like to continue playing sports for the rest of my high school years. Being involved in volleyball and softball has taught me more than just how to play the sport. It lets me spend time with friends, meet new people, and it teaches me how to get along with my peers and take instruction.
I recently read “Winning at What?”, an article about the benefits of participation in school athletics. In the article, the writers talk about the increased acceptance rate into college that is associated with participation in sports and how this can only be seen as a positive outcome. In recent years, colleges not only focus on the grades of their prospective students, but they also look at extracurricular activities that the students participated in while enrolled in high school. This article also talks about the pressure students feel when participating in sports. It describes time conflicts that student-athletes have and how this could negatively affect them (“Winning at What?”). I want to refute this fact by stating that while some students might not be able to handle these obstacles, other students embrace it and adjust to it. This ability to adjust and solve problems is something that will be helpful to students for years after finishing high school, and is one that cannot be obtained within the classroom.
Another article I read was about how school districts across the country are struggling to afford school sports, just like us. The article talks about how every student should have an equal opportunity to have a complete “academic experience”. This academic experience is to include involvement in school sports and the chance to engage with, and learn from others (“Deep Cuts”). The main point of schooling is to produce well-rounded students. Sports teach students the benefits of teamwork, and some even allow for leadership positions to be explored. These are important aspects of participation in sports and will make for more successful students.
Also discussed in this article is the concern of losing students to other schools because of the pay-to-play fees. Stoneham High School, located in Massachusetts, noted a decline in the enrollment of students as a result of eliminating freshman sports. Along with a loss of students, an athletic director was quoted as saying, “Morale was really starting to drop,” as a result of the cuts of school athletics (“Deep Cuts”). This has a negative impact not only on the school, but also on the community as it is losing members to other places. If our school district has to cut school sports, residents might start looking to live in new communities. When families start moving out of town, our local businesses will suffer, causing more harm than good.
Two weeks ago, the local newspaper talked specifically about cuts if the levy fails to pass. Teachers were interviewed and expressed their concerns over the issue of their jobs being cut in order to save money (Klimack). The article stated “all extra- and co-curricular activities also are on the chopping block, including sports and band,” further making the point that this levy is something that cannot be ignored (Klimack). The article showed a sense of fear that the staff members of the school district had in regards to the levy. I think that the same fear exists in the students of the school as well. We are afraid of sports being cut and the benefits that they have to offer.
Now I know that an increase in taxes is not something that excites people, but this levy is not asking citizens to give an arm and a leg every time taxes are collected. The average residential property in Licking County is worth $165,407. If this levy were to pass, the average household could expect to pay $121 more a year in taxes. This equals an increase of about ten dollars a month (“Emergency Operating Levy”). Even though we are in an economic recession, ten dollars is not a crazy amount of money. Instead of eating at a restaurant every night of the week, if families were to eat at home, they would save more than double this amount. By cutting back in small ways, the tax increase is manageable and benefits many more people.
Some of the citizens do not want to support the levy because their children do not attend the schools anymore. I find this reasoning appalling because at one point, someone else paid for their kids to play sports for the school. I think it is time that the citizens who feel this way realize that it is their turn to support the children of the community and reap the benefits from knowing that they had a positive impact on the community.
For the voters of the community that are planning to turn down the levy, I am asking that they reconsider. I hope they can imagine what they would do if they had kids that attended the schools. The future of our school and students will be negatively impacted. School sports are just one way that youth are able to interact with others and the failure of this levy will harm this possibility.
“Emergency Operating Levy.” Southwest Licking School System. 2009. Web. 18 Oct. 2010.
Ginsburg, Richard D., and Rich Lillash. “WINNING AT WHAT?” Independent School 66.4(2007): 18-28. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 11 Oct. 2010.
Klimack, Chad. “Southwest Licking Teachers Await Election Day Levy Vote.” The Newark Advocate. 13 Oct. 2010. Web. 13 Oct. 2010.
Popke, Michael. “Deep Cuts.” Athletic Business. Athletic Business Publications Inc., Dec. 2007. Web. 11 Oct. 2010.