Great Oaks, great investment

By Harry Snyder - Contributing Columnist

On November 6 — or before, if you’re voting early, you’ll have the chance to determine the future of career-technical education in 36 southwest Ohio school districts.

The 2.7-mill levy for Great Oaks Career Campuses expires in 2019 and must be renewed. Here’s what you should know about it:

• This is a renewal; it is not a tax increase.

• This is the same millage that residents have been providing for Great Oaks since 1988 — so, for 30 years it has not changed, and will not change now. It simply extends the millage for a continuing time.

• This is the only local tax funding provided to Great Oaks. It makes up about two-thirds of the school district’s budget.

• Without this levy renewal, Great Oaks would not be able to operate.

What does that mean?

Great Oaks is a public career-technical or joint vocational school district, serving 36 school districts across southwest Ohio. Because Ohio school districts are required by law to offer career-technical programs to their students, these 36 districts joined together in the early 1970s to provide those programs at regional high school campuses.

It’s an efficient and cost-effective way to prepare students for careers and their futures.

Because of this cooperation, students have access to the state-of-the-art equipment, technology, and up-to-date labs that they would use in their careers.

Culinary students learn in a commercial kitchen. Dental assisting students learn in a lab that includes much of the equipment they’ll use in a dentist’s office. Web applications students have the latest software; robotics students are training on the same equipment that advanced manufacturing professionals use, and so on.

The alternative under Ohio law is for school districts to offer career-technical education themselves, which would be very expensive for each district to bear the cost individually.

That’s why renewing this levy is so important. Fortunately, the partnership between Great Oaks and your school district — and the other 35 — has leveraged local tax dollars effectively and efficiently for nearly 50 years.

Great Oaks has shown it serves students well and uses funds wisely, and that is why the November ballot issue is only a renewal, continuing the same millage our residents have been providing since 1988.

It will not raise taxes.

Thank you for considering us as you vote on November 6!

Harry Snyder is President/CEO of Great Oaks Career Campuses.

By Harry Snyder

Contributing Columnist