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St. C Levy an Investment

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Let me start by sharing that: 1) I didn’t grow up in the area but have lived in the St Clairsville-Richland City School District since 2001; 2) I don’t have any relatives attending St Clairsville schools but several of my family members, including my wife, two sisters-in-law, my stepson, a niece, and two nephews graduated from St Clairsville High School; 3) it’s highly unlikely that I will have any family members attending St Clairsville schools in the future; 4) I am in no way affiliated with the school district but I regularly attend St Clairsville sporting and performing arts events; 5) my wife and I own a home and property within the school district; and 6) I’m on the “downhill” side of my working career.

Considering those things and the fact that no one, including me, wants to pay more taxes, one might assume that I wouldn’t be supportive of the proposed bond issue and tax levy for the St Clairsville-Richland City School District on the Nov. 6 ballot.

However, I actually fully support the school building levy. In fact, even though I don’t personally utilize the services provided by many of the various organizations/ agencies in our community, I support all levies, including Police/EMS, Parks & Recreation, the Library, and Senior Services. While some people view community-based tax levies as “costs,” I view them as “investments.”

Levies for education and other vital programs, and services are “investments” that make St Clairsville one of the most desirable places to live in the Upper Ohio Valley. However, the only way to keep it that way is to continually invest in the things that matter, including our schools.

We are currently utilizing school buildings that were built in 2002, 1971, 1963, 1957, 1950, and 1924. During each of those timeframes, I guarantee you there were people just like some folks today who said, “We can’t afford to pay more taxes” or “Those proposed buildings cost too much” or “That’s too long to pay (for a new school building).”  Fortunately for our community, the voters during those times recognized that we can’t have or continue to have a great community if we don’t have good schools. Consequently, they made sacrifices in order to provide the funding that was needed to build the buildings that the kids in our community are using to this day. 

In other words, the citizens of our great community from as recently as 16 years ago but as far back as nearly 100 years ago decided that they would “pay it forward” and they voted YES, not just for the benefit of their own children and their community, but literally for the tens of thousands of children and multiple generations of people that have benefited from attending St Clairsville-Richland City Schools. 

I am in full support of the upcoming building levy because 1) we need to increase the safety and security of our school campus and buildings, 2) we desperately need new and renovated buildings, 3) we need buildings that are much more conducive for meeting the educational needs of the children in our community, 4) it’s the right thing to do (for what is arguably one of the best communities in Belmont County) and 5) lastly, like the people from the generations before us, it’s now OUR duty and obligation to “pay it forward” for our children and the future generations of children that will attend St Clairsville-Richland City Schools. 

In closing, between now and Nov. 6, please take the time to engage with the Build STC group, visit the buildstc.com website, learn about how schools are funded, get the accurate facts about the project, and gain insight into all of the “what’s” and “why’s” our board and administration have chosen the path that they have to not only provide the best education possible for our current students but literally for generations of students to come. I hope you will join me and vote YES to our school levy!

Jim Combs

St Clairsville

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