Letters to the editor

New buildings will be shot in arm


In my 30 years as a teacher in Xenia Community Schools I’ve consistently been impressed with many things about Xenia. What I’ve been most impressed with is the community’s generosity when people are in need. I am asking you to continue this generosity by supporting the Xenia Community School Levy on May 2nd.

With my involvement in athletics, I’ve observed the “shot in the arm” many area schools received as they took advantage of state money to build new schools. As I talk with student athletes from all over the Miami Valley, it is obvious that the opportunities available in new schools have increased student motivation. Students have an appreciation of what those new schools allow them to do, and they know that the community cares about their education. I am a firm believer that education can go on at any place at any time. However, the state money is available now. This is the best chance to gain new schools in Xenia with the necessary resources that students need in this modern age.

We all know that in the old days the game was to ask for new schools, and then come back and ask for an operating levy. The May Levy includes money for schools and for all the materials needed in those schools. Please continue the giving spirit of Xenia. Think of the students in Xenia and vote for this levy. The students and teachers will truly appreciate your effort.

— Pat Marrinan, Kettering

Our duty to prepare students


On May 2 we have the opportunity to ensure that the students in our school district are ready to either continue their education at a college or to enter the work force. Approving the bond issue for the new high school/middle school complex enables the Xenia Community School District to replace two aging buildings with a single new building built to meet the technology needs of today’s students in ways that were not dreamed of when the current buildings were built. The new complex will also enable middle school students in need of advanced courses the ability to take those courses at the high school.

The board did not reach the decision to put this issue on the ballot lightly. They understand that the approximately $28 million from the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission may not be available in the future. This means that approving this issue is saving approximately 40 percent on the cost of construction. The new complex will be about 13 percent larger than the current combined buildings, meaning there is room for growth to meet future needs. If we do not build new buildings the current ones will require significant repairs and upgrades in the near future to ensure that are students and teachers have a safe and effective educational environment. The district will have to pay for the entire amount when they are done.

As a former member of the board of education, I can tell you that we have used the funds provided to the district to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, staff, and public at all times but done it with often restrictive budgets. This means that we have patched things because we did not have the funds to do full replacements. Patching is no longer an option.

Like many of you I would prefer not to have more taxes to pay. We have a duty and obligation as a community to ensure that our students are properly prepared for their futures beyond Xenia High School. This is our opportunity to fulfill this obligation. Join me in voting yes May 2.

— Rick McClelland, Xenia Township

New buildings, new opportunities


As teachers in one of the new elementary buildings in the district, we wanted to express how much the new buildings means to us and the opportunities it affords to the students we teach. The new building provides us the following upgrades and accessibility features.

The rooms are larger than before, which accommodate needed equipment for individual students as well as whole-class needs.

– There is a dedicated kitchen area complete with supplies solely for usage by the students and staff of the self-contained classrooms.

A centrally located bathroom for the self-contained classrooms. This bathroom has a shower, storage space for individual student items, a changing table, toilet and sink. The toilet, sink and hand soap are also at a low enough level where the students can independently reach without the use of a step stool.

There is an increase of technology integration as compared to the previous school. Our previous school did not have interactive whiteboards in every classroom whereas now each classroom is equipped with EPSON boards. The EPSON boards allow for on-screen manipulation of items, writing either with the pen onto a document to be saved on the computer or using a whiteboard marker as an accommodation, and a way for students to regain focus on a subject. The new building is also equipped with a classroom FM system which allows for teachers to use a constructive tone of voice while being heard by the entire class.

Building security has been increased with the new buildings. In the new buildings, there is only one way to get in if you are not a member of the school staff. Visitors mu go through the office to get a pass from the secretary in order to be able to enter the main building.

The new buildings are completely ADA compliant with the following modifications made: Multiple ramps, elevator.

— Andrea Davis, Xenia; Malia LaVelle, Springfield

New buildings mean more time to teach


As a teacher at Warner Middle School, my day begins with one consistent element that does not change: I show up to Warner Middle School. After I arrive, all bets are off. I share a classroom with another teacher. So our days begin with planning and coordinating. We have to coordinate with each other and plan when each of one can use the classroom. These are unfortunate circumstances due to the lack of space in our aging building. There are no simple solutions to our unique problems. One of the solutions that my colleague and I have come up with is that one of us will have class under the stairwell. Another solution is to ask our students to have class in the cafeteria, along with the entire student body when they transition between classes. It’s not exactly quiet. Another option is to ask other teachers to share their classrooms with us during their planning period. The coordinating part is just one of the limitations.

This isn’t a letter that is intended to be a woeful narrative. Instead, this letter is to demonstrate the years of success that our faculty exhibits every day. We are constantly retrofitting and creating unique ways to support our students. This is a laborious task, but we make it and we are successful. We have raised test scores, improved the quality of life for students, many of whom are alumni of our great campuses, and we continue to improve every day. Imagine if we had more time to teach, how much higher would our test scores reach? How many more students could begin exploring their career paths at a younger age?

The economic growth of any community is almost always connected to schools. Public schools are one of the pivotal considerations that families and businesses consider when relocating. A vote yes May 2 for a new middle school and high school is a small investment with a huge return for community. Home values will increase, the community receives valuable assets, and the future of Xenia education becomes much more competitive with our surrounding communities.

— Jason LeMaster, Beavercreek

Strong schools, strong students


Do your best.

That’s what my parents always told me. Teachers, too. I never liked hearing it; why did it always have to be my best? Couldn’t I just do good? Or good enough​?

Now, a parent and teacher, I hear myself saying those same dreaded but necessary words: You only get so many chances, so do your best. You need to understand the importance of this, so do your best. You have no time to waste, so do your best.

May 2 we will vote to build a new middle/high school – and we need to consider what’s best.

We only get so many chances. The state is currently willing to make major contributions to this project, yet the timeline for this generosity runs out this August.

We need to understand the importance of this. Student learning is significantly influenced by air quality, natural light, temperature, building layout and flexibility in classroom setup. Research shows that building design has considerable impact on student success, yet these factors create daily struggles for students and teachers.

We have no time to waste. Every day, progress launches students further into the future. With a simple click, students make connections never thought possible, collaborate with people never before considered, and create designs that just yesterday were unimaginable. A 55-year-old school is not designed for such innovation, yet it is needed so our students can successfully progress into the future.

So back to the question: If we turn away this gift from the state, if we continue to send our students to decaying buildings, if we fail to plug classrooms into innovation, are we doing our best?

— Pam Graetz, Dayton

New buildings will change lives


I have worked for the Xenia Community Schools for 26 years. I have lived in the Xenia the same exact amount of years. I have watched this community grow with each and every passing year. I have also had the pleasure of working with several families in our district. One of my most proudest moments was the outpouring of support that our voters gave to us the day after our levy passed to build new elementary schools.

Our students didn’t know how their lives were about to be changed. We now have nice, clean buildings with air conditioning. A gymnasium that isn’t doubling to be also used as our cafeteria. We have a state-of-the-art music and art rooms, we have classrooms for students that are following a general education track, students with special needs and we area also meeting the needs of ours students that have been identified as gifted. All of these success stories are due to our staff, parents and registered voters.

Since the rebuilding of the elementary schools were such a success, we need to move forward in making our junior high and high school part of of evolution for change. Let’s start by passing this bond issue.

— LaShann Latimer, Xenia

Teachers, students need adequate space


I am writing this letter in support of the Xenia school levy. I have taught in Xenia schools for 12 years. I’ve taught in three other districts prior to coming to Xenia. One thing I can say about the Xenia school district is we are continually improving. I see a commitment to doing more for our students and doing it better each year. I am happy to work for a district that has high expectations for me as a teacher and an administration that has made sure I have everything I need to do my job well. The district also has high expectations for my students. I am so proud of Xenia’s commitment to preschool. The class sizes are purposely kept small and there is never a waiting list. Xenia has added classrooms to keep up with the numbers of preschoolers enrolled. It is expected that every student will leave preschool with the skills necessary to succeed in kindergarten.

I want the very best for my students. I want them to have beautiful, comfortable buildings in which to learn. I want the middle school and high school teachers to have adequate space and the furnishings they need to do their jobs. I hope the community will support the school levy and make it possible for the students, who are the future of the community, to have this opportunity for new buildings. This is a one-time opportunity to receive state funds to make new buildings possible.

— Paula Fleming, Beavercreek

Many reasons for new buildings


I believe that there is an overwhelming abundance of evidence supporting the fact that the buildings that the middle school and high school students are currently in are not longer safe, healthy, accessible or functional in these capacities. Therefore, I would like to say something regarding why it is important to provide students with a new environment for learning.

The quality of schools, including the school building, shows our children what we value. By having rundown buildings that we are not willing to give a little extra to replace, communicates to our children that we do not value their education, therefore education is not important. Moreover, by sending students to a rundown and uninviting space we are limiting their desire to come to school. A new, comfortable, and inviting space with room to move, easy access, and specialty areas encourages students to attend and want to come, which will hopefully lead to a decrease in school dropout rates.

Even if your focus is not on the education of our children, but on the financial ramifications, the benefits to a new school building cannot be overlooked. We currently have the opportunity to build a very nice building with the support of funding outside of city taxes. The newer building will run much more efficiently than the other buildings. Also, better school districts drive up property values, which benefits you even if you do not have a child currently attending school.

— Brittany Phipps, Cedarville

New buildings are important


I have been a teacher at Xenia Preschool for five years. I also went to Xenia Community Schools from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade and graduated from Xenia High School in 2006. I was always participating in the musicals, plays, and shows at Xenia High School and I also played soccer my freshman year. The high school building has been the same since I graduated from there 11 years ago and I know the auditorium has had to have many chairs removed because they are so broken and those chairs are not even manufactured to purchase anymore.

The importance of new buildings for the high school and the middle school in the district is huge. The students get to go to brand-new elementary buildings and then once they get to middle school and high school the buildings need tons of repair. Our preschool building has also had a lot of positive updates and repairs but the middle school and high school are older and it takes more money to fix those needs. The community as a whole needs to come together to support our future with out kids. They deserve to go to school and learn in the best place possible. We, the teachers, are big supporters of this and as a former Xenia student and now an employee, this district means a lot to me and I want to see it continue to succeed in the future.

— Kaitlyn Hiltibran, Urbana

Students need and deserve new buildings


As elementary teachers at Cox Elementary, we were blessed several years ago with our new school. We passed a levy and were able to building five elementary buildings with the help of our community, parents and registered voters from the City of Xenia. These buildings provide state-of-the-art needs for our students to become successful learners. Speaking from experience, we no longer must teach in buildings that constantly leak or flood due to rain and thunderstorms. Our students are fortunate enough to have a music room and gymnasium that no longer also serve are our cafeteria, and last but certainly not least, we have a wonderful playground for our students to enjoy. We have classrooms that are air conditioned and meed state codes. These buildings provide the needs of our students today. We don’t use black and white televisions anymore in our homes, so why do we want our children to go to schools that were built in the 1960s and 1970s? They cannot support today’s learners or technology.

This is our last chance to help the students of Xenia compete in today’s society. Our students desperately need and deserve new schools. We need to support our students and our community by passing this bond issue.

— Scott Schell, Centerville

Buildings will improve Xenia as whole


We’ve all heard the famous quote, “Change is inevitable. Change is constant.” This maxim applies to everything in our lives, from the smallest detail to the most important events. It is with this statement in mind that I wanted to write a letter to you, the Xenia Community, explaining why Xenia needs a new middle school and high school.

I have been a teacher for the Xenia Community Schools for 17 years. There have been many changes over the years taking place within our district; from the simple ones of moving classrooms or buildings, to the larger ones of state testing. We have experienced, first-hand, the mounting educational and basic needs in our schools. Technology in the classrooms and labs are not sufficient. Bathroom facilities are not adequate for the growing number of students. Crowded conditions in classrooms and hallways are not conducive to learning. Continuing to put a Band-Aid on these problems is not a remedy.

Let’s make sure the kids in our district know that the citizens of this community care about them and their education. We understand that an additional tax will be a sacrifice; however, we would ask that you make that investment in order to improve not only the educational environment for the children but the economic development of Xenia.

— Brian Martin, Kettering

Students should be in safe, comfortable environment


A a parent of three children in the Xenia Community Schools, I have been involved with the district since 2008. As a teacher, I have been employed here since 2014. All three of my children have been fortunate enough to attend the new elementary schools, where I currently work. These buildings have been a blessing as they are much more modern, bright, and vibrant places to learn than their predecessors. As my children are getting older and leaving the elementary school, it is my hope that they continue to be offered the same level of opportunities our elementary children have, keeping pace with other school districts around us. I am thrilled with some of the changes that XCS have made with the curriculum recently. My children now have more choices and more challenging courses to choose from each year. Unfortunately, they are and will be placed in buildings that are not equipped to operate those classes effectively, such as technology labs. I want them in a safe and comfortable environment, where heating and air conditioning are not issues that negatively affect their learning. I want them to be in a school where they can get to classes when they are on crutches, and where they don’t get wet in class when it rains or snows heavily. I also want them to be in a classroom that is large enough to hold a class, not be in a closet that acts as a classroom. I want them to have buildings that are wired for today’s technology. I want them to feel as important as they are, to have pride in their school, city and their community.

I have high expectations for my children and my students, which I think of as my children. They all deserve the best I can give them, the best that our community can give them. They are our future, and we need our future to be bright, positive, and successful. Please consider a yes vote for the bond issue in May and help me give them the best.

— Leah Pham, Xenia

Small classrooms make learning tough


I wish to express my support for the Xenia Community Schools bond issue to build a new middle and high school. I became a teacher because of the great teachers I had while attending Xenia schools. After I became a teacher, I began my career in new buildings in Springfield. There are many benefits of teaching and learning in a new, reliable building. Benefits include space for all teachers to teach, access to the best technology, and pride in the schools. Not to mention, there is more learning because students have access to engaging technology and learning spaces.

Since that time, I returned to teach in Xenia. The small, crowded classrooms make learning difficult. Ventilation and noise issues are distracting. The teachers work to make the best of the schools, but they can only put so much lipstick on a pig to make these buildings work. Simply put, Xenia students at Warner and Xenia High School are not getting the same quality of education as my former students in Springfield. It is a shame that our talented students and teachers do not have the spaces to work, grow, and thrive. I consider the new buildings an investment in our future. Xenia students are the best, and they deserve the best.

— Tom Massie, Beavercreek

Fixing buildings would be temporary


As a 1993 graduate of Xenia High School, I know all to well that it is like to be a high school student whose future will be determined by the outcome of a voting community. In the early 1990s, the district was at a crossroads and a lack of operating monies forced the administration to make deep cuts that included many extra-curricular activities. Many folks think immediately of athletics, but other programs suffered as well and it took an extended period of time for the school district to recover. As a student then, I remember how my classmates and I joined together in solidarity to do what we could to get the word out.

Many of the students who benefited from the sacrifices of our parents and grandparents in the 1990s now have an opportunity to pay it forward for future generations. Several of us sent a very clear message a few years ago in support of a bond issue to build new elementary schools and I truly believe that our current administration had done/is doing everything possible to prove they are acting in a fiscally responsible manner. They are being good stewards of tax dollars and they are for the kids.

Building improvements for the current facilities will be costly and provide a temporary fix. New buildings would offer a more safe environment for students, but you also have to consider the vast educational opportunities that await our students with this middle/high school set-up. Visualize for a moment our middle school gifted and talented students who are ready for advanced content and could have access to additional high school courses.

As with every generation, someone before them made sacrifices to pave the way for a successful future for the next generation. As a teacher in the district, I recognize the potential in all of our students and I feel very strongly that we will send a clear message whatever the outcome of the vote. I am choosing to vote yes for our kids May 2 and I hope you will stand with me in solidarity.

— Donna Shaw, Xenia

Bond issue makes sense


Passing the Xenia Community Schools bond issue makes economic sense. Approval of the issue will provide funding for a new middle and high school to replace our current outdated buildings. These old buildings cannot be kept in repair without costing two thirds of the amount of constructing new buildings. It also makes sense to take advantage of the state’s offer to provide more than $28 million in funding.

The Xenia Community Schools have made great progress in fiscal responsibility, added curriculum choices, increased enrollment and graduation rates, and transparency with the community. In order for students to have the best advantage in finding good jobs post-graduation, having safe, efficient, and right-sized facilities is crucial.

For these reasons, the Xenia Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors unanimously endorses the bond issue for the Xenia Community Schools and urges you to vote yes for it May 2.

— Kraig Hagler, Xenia Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors chair

Community needs to come together


I have taught for Xenia Community Schools for the past two years at Xenia Preschool and I am a fellow Xenia resident. My mother, Kelly Russell, worked for the district for 35 years. Being a teacher’s daughter, I spent many evenings and summers at the old elementary buildings. As we know, those buildings were extremely outdated. They did not have central air, technology, adequate classroom space, or electrical outlets. We now have five beautiful new elementary buildings. Two of our buildings are still facing the problems that our former elementary buildings were facing. Not only as a teacher, but as a resident of Xenia, the middle school and high school students deserve a better environment for their education. Warner and Xenia High School are not presently equipped to meet the needs of the requirements students will face in the 21st century. By combining the middle and high school, Xenia will be able to eliminate costly repairs to aging buildings, combine shared spaces such as kitchen, cafeteria and auditorium. Support staff like nurses, speech therapist, occupational therapist, and others will spend their time with students, rather than driving between schools. As you can see, as a community we need to come together and make our youth’s educational needs our top priority. The Xenia community will never regret investing in our future.

— Natalie Reed, Xenia.

Current buildings will be handled properly


One of the questions I am often asked when discussing the proposed new Xenia Community School middle and high school project is, “What will happen to the existing Warner Middle School and Xenia High School once the project is complete?”

The board of education has included the cost for demolition for both WMS and XHS in the overall cost plan, to ensure these buildings do not end up sitting vacant and boarded up. However, demolition does not have to be the end result for both buildings. Under state law, the schools will first make the buildings available to other schools, like charter schools. If there is no such interest, the schools can then market the properties to other interested parties.

While the new buildings, to be located at the northwest corner of U.S. 35 and S.R. 42 are under construction, the schools will work with Realtors, developers and others to find a potential user of the buildings. Perhaps a portion of the buildings would want to be used or just the site. For example, a church might like the high school site, but only wants to keep the auditorium or gym or maybe some of the classroom spaces. The district will work closely with the city to ensure any potential use(s) of the building(s) and/or site(s) are compatible with the existing neighborhoods. The board of education and staff want to achieve a win-win-win for the neighbors of the sites, the community as a whole, and the school district.

Please vote yes on May 2 for the Xenia Community Schools bond issue.

— Marsha Bayless, Xenia

Let’s give our students what they need


I am the attendance secretary at Warner Middle School. The reason reason I am writing you today is to ask you to do what you do best in Xenia … come together for a good reason. I remember when the last F5 tornado tore through this town; people came together like I never could have imagined helping those affected. We held each other up when we did not know where to turn or what to do. We helped each other rebuild, physically and emotionally. We came together because that’s what we do in Xenia.

This town has a rich history of people helping one another and digging deep to come together. In my opinion, there is no better reason to come together than our children.

We need to come together and get the Xenia Community School bond issue passed. Our kids deserve to have all of the opportunities and advantages of students in other districts. As a parent of a student who attended Cox Elementary, I can vouch that the instruction she received was top-notch. Our students deserve a top-notch environment too.

The time is now to give our students all the tools and resources they need to help them achieve their dreams and goals. Let’s come together again Xenia, this time for the best reason, our kids.

— Heather Horsley, Jamestown

Xenia needs new buildings


My wife and I are in full support of the school bond issue May 2. I live here, go to church here, teach here, own a small business here, and my son attended schools here. We are in dire need of a new middle and high school building. I should know as I’ve worked in both.Thank You in advance for your Saupport.

Mark Serenius, Xenia