It's a light primary ballot, overall, but critically important to some school districts in Summit County.
In Barberton, voters are deciding an 8.45 mill, 5-year operating levy. Superintendent Patti Cleary says
"These dollars would just replace the lost revenue we've had over the past four to five years," said Cleary. "This will maintain the programming and the teachers that we have right now. We would not be adding more."
Cleary says Barberton is in a predicament similar to many other schools: Property values have dropped along with state funding and expenses have gone up, forcing cuts that are now edging too close to having a serious impact on education.
Coventry Superintendent Rusty Chaboudy is asking voters for a third time to provide the necessary local funding to build a new high school and renovate two existing buildings. He says the combined bond issue and permanent improvement levy totaling 5.99 mills, will actually result in an operating cost savings.
"We're going to go from four buildings to three and we're going to be able to be much more energy efficient and transportation costs would be improved because we're putting all of our buildings within a half-mile radius of one another," said Chaboudy.
As part of the levy effort, Chaboudy is trying to downplay the claims of some opponents, who are focusing on open enrollment, suggesting that the district shouldn't take in so many students from other districts, then ask district residents to cough up more money to pay for the schools. Chaboudy says Coventry is one of 77% of Ohio school districts that accept students through open enrollment. State funding associated with each student follows that student, but state funding makes up only part of a student's fiscal profile. Still, Chaboudy says the district is doing the right thing.
"For every open enrollment student, it drives down the amount of money that they are paying for the resident student and that's the point we're trying to get out to people," said Chaboudy.
Voters in Cuyahoga Falls are voting on a 3-mill permanent improvement levy and the Mogadore district is looking for passage of a 5.9-mill operating levy.