Times are tough in Ohio's education system. The battle over school funding continues as more and more districts are feeling the blow of difficult financial times.

The most disturbing aspect of this difficult situation, however, is the inability of our school system and community to pull together during these tough times. Many Stow residents talk about and enjoy the strength of a community like ours. However, it feels that the impasse with the Board of Education and the teachers happened far too quickly and easily for both sides.

Newspaper reports and community e-mails present a picture of two sides divided. Latest reports state that while the Board continues to interview candidates for the treasurer position, no progress has been made to negotiate an agreement with teachers. It makes me wonder if the Board's No. 1 priority is kids or money?

As the beginning of a new school year looms, the teachers are standing on street corners as if they are already on strike. The Boardmembers don't seem to have any response, and it is uncertain what our kids will have to face when school starts in August. Preliminary 2007 Ohio Achievement Test results rank the Stow Schools as a successful district. Have school officials considered how that success will be jeopardized if our veteran, trained teachers are replaced with substitutes? Have they considered the impact a strike will have on the nurturing learning environment provided by their teachers?

Interestingly, when there is a levy on the ballot, the No. 1 campaign point is that our kids are our future, and they are worth every penny of a tax increase. Is our "future" not worth the time and effort required to compromise and negotiate a reasonable solution?

What about the kids?

Beth Wayman