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Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

Board of Education Takes First Step in Placing Levy on March Ballot

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Nov. 7, 2019 -- The CH-UH Board of Education approved the first reading of the proposed 7.9 mills March 2020 operating levy language at its November 5 regular meeting. The public readings are the first step in the process of placing an operating levy on the March ballot. 

The need for a new operating levy was solidified after the Board reviewed the citizen-led Lay Finance Committee report, delivered by the committee member Ryan Routh at the November 5 meeting. The report indicates the District faces a clear need for increased operating support in the first half of 2020 in order to avoid cuts to educational programming.

“Our committee has carefully reviewed the financial projections for the CH-UH School District,” said Routh. “We believe that an operating levy of 7.9 mills is the minimum amount needed to sufficiently cover the costs to operate the District. This increased support would have to be approved by voters in March 2020 in order to avoid harmful budget cuts.”

“The state budget that was passed this summer holds CH-UH funding flat, and there is no reason to believe that state funding will increase,” Routh continued. “Furthermore, future cuts are already included in the forecast. The District is projecting that they will be able to find an additional $750,000 in budget cuts each of the next three fiscal years. This will become progressively more difficult.”

“It’s clear that the time to place a levy on the ballot has come,” said Jodi Sourini, CH-UH Board of Education President. “The Board and Administration have placed great importance on reducing costs and using taxpayer dollars wisely, without compromising classroom instruction. But we are at the point where any more significant cuts to personnel and services, like those that would be necessary without a levy, would drastically reduce the quality of our children’s education. We cannot let that happen.”

Like every school district in Ohio, the CH-UH City School District must periodically ask residents for increased operating support to pay for educational necessities, from teachers to programming. While the District is always finding ways to economize, cut costs, and accomplish their mission with less, the funding they receive from residents is prohibited by state law from rising with inflation and the usual increases in costs that we all face. Through responsible fiscal management, the District has stretched finances to make the last operating levy last for four years – a year longer than anticipated.
 
A second public reading will take place at the Board’s next regular meeting on December 9 at 7 p.m. at the Board of Education. Community members should direct their comments and concerns to Ms. Sourini at j_sourini@chuh.org prior to that date. 

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