On behalf of the Mathews Local Board of Education, I would like to respond to the Tribune editorial entitled "Think Out Plans for Windfall" on April 10.
The editorial accurately stated the board authorized a lease agreement with BP for the mineral rights to 87 acres of land owned by the board. The editorial went on to say, "The district should reap about $339,000 for giving BP the rights ..." When interviewed by a Tribune reporter April 2 for an article posted April 3, I made a point to say the board's action did not guarantee any dollar figure.
At this early stage in the leasing process, deeds must be researched for existing oil / gas lease agreements. Vienna and Fowler residents who were in attendance at the ALOV meeting held at the Covelli Center will know BP has made no monetary guarantees until the deed searches have been completed. However, residents reading the Tribune editorial, and not in attendance at the Covelli meeting, would be led to believe BP has guaranteed $339,000 to the Mathews Local School District.
Later, when discussing how any "windfall" should be spent, the editorial mentions an ongoing problem with the Mathews High School septic system. The editorial states, "Spending a third of the money on a new septic system, one idea being floated in Mathews, would be a waste. The very idea of spending money to correct a decades-old septic problem while Trumbull County plans to install sewer lines within the next two years is ridiculous.''
The aforementioned statement would be deceptive if read by stakeholders of the Mathews Local Schools. The comment implies the installation of a new septic system is the idea of the Mathews Board of Education, when in fact the Ohio EPA has mandated the new system with its issuance of Final Findings and Orders dated Jan. 18. The issue of the EPA mandate was conveyed to the Tribune reporter during my April 2 interview. The EPA is aware of the Trumbull County Engineers sewer installation timeline, but due to the chronic nature of the pollution problem, the EPA mandate must stand.
In closing, while the Mathews Local School District appreciates input from the Tribune Chronicle, we realize that a Tribune editorial is not the engine that drives district decision making. The Mathews Local School District community provides that force. Thank you for the opportunity to respond.
Mathews Local Schools