In the Wooster City School District, students are at the center of everything we do. We strive daily to enrich our students lives by helping them to:

• Be passionate.

• Be able to problem-solve and think critically.

• Be able to work independently and with others.

• Be creative.

• Care for others, show empathy, and want to give back to their community.

• Persevere.

• Have integrity, self-respect, and moral courage.

• Value the arts.

• Embrace differences.

• Care for their mind and body.

• Speak well, write well, read well, and work well with numbers.

The Wooster City School District has placed a 6.5-mil operating levy before the electorate on the March primary ballot. The levy will cost $18.95 a month on a $100,000 property and is crucial to our school operations and programming. The school system requests these new levy dollars to cover inflationary costs for items like school buses, curriculum, utilities, technology, and personnel expenses that have increased over the past 10 years. All of which are central to our mission; our students.

The district has worked tirelessly to model efficiency and to be good stewards of the taxpayer's dollar. As this is the first request for new money in 10 years, we feel our efforts have been successful. Ten years is the longest duration between operating levies in the history of the school district! During that period, two elementary schools were closed, energy efficient systems installed, grade-levels reconfigured, transportation redesigned, and employee compensation packages scheduled against the market. Since our 2010 levy revenue does not grow with inflation, the need to request additional dollars is necessary.

The question has been asked; "Why are levies even needed?" In 1976, the state of Ohio passed House Bill 920 which restricts inflationary growth in property valuation that provides funds for schools. For this reason, districts must place levies on the ballot to raise revenue for inflationary operational costs such as those listed above.

We are proud to offer a high-quality educational experience to our students and value for our community. We are proud of our award-winning schools that culminate with a US News & World Report "BEST" rated high school. Wooster High School is ranked #1 in our area by US News & World Report and #89 (out of 1,360 high schools) in all of Ohio.

Wooster High School was also recently recognized as a Newsweek Top "STEM" high school. We are proud of this new designation as we are a nation of entrepreneurs and innovators. Our STEAM offerings are preparing our students for a workforce that requires strong skills in "science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM).

Lastly, none of this would be possible without our amazingly dedicated, compassionate, and loyal employees. Our 500+ employees are truly special people who strive to make a positive difference in the lives of our students and community each day. This levy ensures that we can continue to recruit and retain the best talent for our students.

We hope you will support our efforts during the voting season for this March primary election!

For more information about the district and the operating levy, please visit www. and Go Woo!

— Michael Tefs is the superintendent of the Wooster City School District.