Wickliffe's future is our hands, let's do the right thing on November 5th
Opinion by Tim Shirer
The City of Wickliffe has many great things that those of us that live in the city should be proud of. The Wickliffe Service Department that keeps our streets safe and clear in the winter. Our police and fire departments that I would put up against any in the country. Petti’s Pizza, Jerry’s Dari Pride, Wickliffe Lanes, Mount Carmel. Our sports programs, the Youth Football League and Wickliffe Baseball Leagues have been around for over 50 years. The rec basketball program that is run by the high school basketball players is phenomenal. Our library is such a great place, the community center has so many great programs for all of our citizens especially seniors. We have the best parks in Lake County, it’s not even close with proof during homecoming and prom season that kids from neighboring cities are often taking pictures at Coulby.
But there is one big thing in Wickliffe right now that we should not brag about or be proud of at this point and it’s our school buildings. This is a big deal. This is something that needs to be remedied NOW. The current three schools are falling apart, literally. They are not safe for the students going forward. Do they meet safety standards, yes, but are they as safe as a modern building would be? Absolutely, positively not.
I attended Wickliffe Schools. I was a student at all three of the current buildings and am a proud 1987 graduate. My son graduated this year and attended all three of the current schools. As Wickliffe Alum we agree that new schools are needed. In fact November 5th will be the first time my son will vote and he is very excited at the opportunity to make a difference and vote for Issue 3 to build a new campus at the current site of Wickliffe High School which will house all three school Kindergarten through 12th grade.
I have talked to many other young people who recently graduated from WHS and understand that new schools are needed. They are close enough to being students to understand the impact it will have on future students to go to a school that will provide a great learning atmosphere and that they can be very proud of. I am a huge believer that if children are provided a great environment to learn in, they will excel to the best of their ability. In Wickliffe we already have on aspect of a good environment for children to learn in place with the faculty. The faculty at Wickliffe school are top notch and provide a great education for the students. So, this last piece needs to be put in place to make our school district everything it deserves to be for the kids and that is THE BEST.
I hope people understand that this will affect our city for generations to come. Your vote can positively affect Wickliffe for the next 25 or more years. Property values will increase, new families will want to move to Wickliffe because we will have the newest and best school facilities in Lake County.
I ask this question, “If you were a young married couple right now and you were planning on having children and you were looking for a house somewhere in Lake County, would you buy a house in Wickliffe?” Honestly as a lifelong Wickliffe resident, my family moved here in May of 1969, I would not move to Wickliffe right now if I was young and looking to raise a family. If I was going to raise a family right now in 2019, I would want my children to have the best and honestly there are better schools in Lake County than Wickliffe right now. As I said our faculty is great, but If I toured Wickliffe Schools right now because I was looking for a house and then I toured schools in the Willoughby-Eastlake School District, or Euclid I would choose those schools over Wickliffe. Painesville has newer schools, better option than Wickliffe.
I understand that people are concerned about their taxes increasing and I get that. But if you ever want to sell your house it will be impossible if we have horrible school buildings. No person in their right mind is going to buy a house in Wickliffe and live here long term and raise a family here when they have much better options close by. So, if you don’t have children currently in the school as I do not, it does have an effect on you also.
I also realize that people are hesitant because they are not sure that the money generated by the levy will be handled correctly. People always have questions about that. I will be blatantly honest here and say that I have not always been happy the way the Wickliffe School Board has done things. But that was the past. I think our current school board is pretty darn good. We have a great Superintendent in Joe Specia and good administrators, whom I trust. Remember if the levy passes there will be open meetings for public input, and I can guarantee I will be at the meetings to make sure the things that are important to me end up being put into the new campus. I have a big mouth and sometimes people do not want to hear what I have to say, but we all have a voice in Wickliffe on this issue not only on November 5th, but afterward if it passes.
I don’t really think there is much more that I can say except, please vote YES for the future of Wickliffe on November 5th. It is critically important to your future and more importantly the kids of the future.
POSTED 10/20/2019 22:53