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Cuyahoga Falls City Schools seeks levy renewal on Nov. 8

by STeve wiandt | REPORTER Published: October 16, 2016 12:00 AM

Cuyahoga Falls -- Voters in the Cuyahoga Falls City School District will be asked to renew a levy on Election Day Nov. 8.

Issue 40 is an existing 9.97-mill operating levy the district has said is "vital" in its efforts to continue the programs it is providing for its students. The levy was first placed on the ballot in 1991 and replaced May 2011.

This levy generates more than $7.3 million annually and it expires on Dec. 31, 2016. The renewal levy would last another five years. If approved, the levy will continue to cost the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $25 per month, said the district's treasurer, David Hoskin.

If it fails, the district will not receive more than $3.65 million in revenue during this fiscal year (FY17) regardless of a decision to put the issue on the subsequent ballot, according to the district website. Renewing the levy will allow for the continuation of operating funds for educational opportunities, salaries and benefits, utilities, repairs and maintenance, supplies and capital expenditures.

Matt Weiss, treasurer and co-chairman of the levy committee, said this renewal levy does not involve the district's buildings, which continue to be a discussion topic following the failure last year of a bond issue to build new facilities.

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"This is to keep the lights on, keep the programs going and continue the educational opportunities," Weiss said. "We're not trying to get rid of educational opportunities; we're trying to increase them."

Hoskin has said at the end of calendar year 2017, another five-year levy, 4.75 mills in size, expires. That levy generates $3.2 million per year.

"We have to have the renewals to continue to operate," Superintendent Dr. Todd Nichols said during the Oct. 5 School Board meeting.

When asked by a Board member to list possible cuts that could be made if the renewal levy would fail, Nichols said he preferred not to get into that kind of discussion because the renewal levy campaign was building a "positive momentum."

Weiss said a portion of the renewal levy's revenue goes toward teachers' salaries.

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"In the world that we are living in, the more opportunities that we can provide for our kids, the better off they are going to be no matter where they decide to go," he said. "This would hurt our district if this did not pass."

Weiss said cuts to programs would likely lead to a decrease in enrollment of both open enrollment students and resident students who opt to go elsewhere to continue their pursuits.

"I'm afraid of what could happen," Weiss said.

Levy co-chairman Jason "Jake" Ricker said the school district does "such a great job educating our young. We want our community to be strong and our school district to be strong and work together."

Ricker said by working together, students will get the proper education and grow up to be leaders in the community.

"This is a renewal," he said. "No new taxes. This is a way to keep our community strong."

Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 8.

Email: swiandt@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9420

Twitter: @SteveWiandt_RPC


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