The League of Women Voters of Kent expresses a position on various issues of concern to the communities it serves. However, it does so only after a formal study has been conducted, consensus has been reached among the League's members and the text of the position has been approved by the League's board.
The Kent League has official position statments on the following local issues:
- Parks and Recreation
- Land Use and Zoning
- Charter of Kent City
- Kent City Finances
- Portage County Jail (Justice System)
- Kent City Schools
History: The League's position on this issue was adopted in 1983 and updated in 1984. A third update began in 1999 and was completed in 2013.
The League believes that the primary responsibility of city government is to provide basic services and therefore supports the provision of the following basic services and funding sources:
- Fire protection: Property tax, income tax and general fund revenue.
- Police Protection: Income tax revenue, though not necessarily the sole source of funding.
- Water and Sewer: Assessment of a fee for each service.
- Street Upkeep: Income tax revenue, though not necessarily the sole source of funding.
- Emergency Medical Assistance: Income tax revenue.
Municipal facilities supporting basic services as outlined in the position, including design, construction, equipment, any necessary property acquisition and debt service, shall be supported through property tax, income tax and general fund revenue, government funding, private grants and user fees as appropriate.
The League also believes the city should improve its SCMR (street construction, maintenance and reconstruction) and long-range planning, find ways to enhance the city's economic base and continually promote good working relations among the public, the city administration and Kent State University.
History: The League`s position on this issue was adopted in 1986 and updated and condensed in 1999. The following is a statement of the condensed position adopted at the 1999 annual meeting. The position was updated in 2003 and 2017.
The League of Women Voters of Kent strongly supports public school systems which are empowered by and responsive to the communities they serve. The League supports school systems that strive to provide students with a quality, comprehensive education and exhibit financial responsibility and stability. A system's ability to be a model educational institution stems from its dedicated, well-trained staff and fine physical facilities that are made possible through voter and community support.
The League supports:
- Ongoing citizen participation in the planning, development and review of all areas of Kent education programs. The League believes that active citizen participation is critical to ensure that the district is responsive to the changing needs of the Kent community that supports it.
- Encouragement of Kent citizens' substantive and continuous input through easy access to available information concerning the health, accomplishments, strengths, and weaknesses of the school system. It is the school system's responsibility to provide an aggressive and open public information program that is scheduled into the school calendar, advertised and accessible to all who wish to participate. This can further be accomplished through use of the district's website, small group meetings with District staff members, and printed communication.
- Increased citizen participation through implementation of citizen advisory councils in each building, advertised public hearings, and the appointment of ad hoc committees to address specific concerns, such as facilities planning, curriculum changes, and financial planning.
The League recommends:
- Bond issues be considered for capital projects and major improvement projects. The limited use of current operating funds for minor capital improvements is acceptable.
- The District continues efforts to explain its needs for additional funds to potential voters on its own website and in its newsletter, in the local paper, and through any other means.
The League recommends:
- The District actively and aggressively seek public input on policy and planning issues--including long-range financial planning and facilities planning--before decisions are made on these matters.
- The District actively share the long range plans it has adopted with the community. If members of the community have concerns about planning issues, we encourage them to communicate directly with the administration or the Board of Education.
- Ad hoc committees should have clearly stated goals and time frames that are understood by all who participate. The district should value the results of such efforts and seriously consider any recommendations that are offered and provide feedback on the manner in which the recommendations were addressed.
- The ongoing efforts by the District to use feedback should be encouraged on all levels, national, state and/or local, to establish planning that will guide and move the district toward improvement.
The League supports:
- The continued focus on increased instructional time for all students from preschool through high school.
- Opportunities for individual creativity in writing and a continuing emphasis on critical thinking skills, problem solving and decision-making skills.
- A well-integrated reading and language arts program that incorporates strategies designed to meet individual learning styles and abilities. The League further supports expansion of learning experiences across the spectrum of student capabilities and needs, including the continual growth of gifted educational services and the longstanding Six District Educational Compact in which Kent participates.
- The continuing availability and expansion of technology for students and staff. Continuing integration of technology into curricular instruction is recommended along with additional opportunities for distance learning. The Kent City School District should continue to provide appropriate technical staff, which is crucial for the efficient and effective use of technology.
- The wide variety of curriculum and co-curricular offerings at the secondary level.
- The District's remediation programs that enable students, at all levels, to stay in school and reach their full potential.
- The continued incorporation of strategies and curricular content which promotes emotional well-being, social competence and emotional intelligence at every grade level.
History: At the 2010 annual meeting, LWV Kent concurred with the position adopted/concnurred in 2009 by the LWV Cuyahoga Area, Cleveland Area and Shaker Heights.
The League of Women Voters of Kent supports voluntary intergovernmental, collaborative agreements which reduce costs, foster transparency and accountability, improve efficiencies and maintain service standards. Such agreements:
- Are appropriate at local, county, metropolitan, multiple-county or regional levels.
- Should be practical and of manageable size.
- Should demonstrate the interconnectedness of all neighboring communities.
The League of Women Voters of Kent supports regional tax-base revenue sharing as a constructive form of intergovernmental cooperation for the mutual benefit of participating communities. Such a program should:
- Advance smart growth, economic development and fiscal equity within the target area.
- Impact positively upon infrastructure, housing, education, recreation, inclusion and/or shared public facilities.
- Set standards for finance, staffing and administration that are consistent, accountable, transparent and efficient.
- Pool contributions from an agreed portion of new growth in local commercial and industrial property tax revenue.
- Distribute that revenue pool among participating communities to further fiscal equity across the area.
- Honor local sovereignty and school funding resources, be flexible, and grow with time.
- Allow the participating communities to determine and periodically review the formulas for collection and allocations.