Next Step for School Levy: Try Again

Loss at polls was 'heartbreaking,' official says

There's no question school officials will again ask voters to approve the they .

"I guess we're just going to regroup and move on," School Board President Jennifer Sinisgalli said.

But not yet known is whether they will put the issue on again as a "continuing" issue -- one that is collected indefinitely -- or with a limit.

Sinisgalli said feedback she heard during the campaign indicated voters were uncomfortable with the indefinite collection.

"Every time we put it on the ballot, it costs the district precious dollars," she said. "That's why we wanted it to be continuing."

About 55 percent of voters rejected Issue 15 Tuesday, which would have picked up when an existing 6-mill levy expires at the end of 2012. It would not raise taxes.

The district is likely to . Sinisgalli said she expects the cost to be at least $30,000.

"We had hoped the community didn't want us to expend dollars that didn't benefit the students," Sinisgall said, noting that the bill from the Board of Elections for ballot issues this year has reached $150,000.

Voters in 2011 turned down a 9.9-mill levy in May and a  in August. Both would have been new taxes.

The district cut more than $7 million out of the budget this year due to those losses. 

If the renewal does not pass by next May, the district will have to lop $7.6 million -- the amount it generates a year -- out of the 2012-13 budget. Those cuts will come in the form of transportation, gifted and advanced placement programs, extracurricular activities and others items, Superintendent Jeff Lampert has said.

Issue 15 had widespread support among Strongsville leaders. Mayor Tom Perciak said lower school ratings would lead to lower home values and make the city a less appealing place for businesses to relocate.

"When a business calls about moving here, there are two questions they ask: First, tell us about your safety forces and second, how good are your schools," Perciak said.

Sinisgalli said it was encouraging that the levy was not defeated in a landslide, but it was "heartbreaking" to see an issue that would not raise taxes rejected.

"The good news is we closed the gap," she said. "The bad news is it was a renewal."


Nancy November 10, 2011 at 10:07 AM
The 9.9 mil issue on the ballot was one that never should have been there (the school board admitted that it should not, but it was too late to remove) -- blame the board for "jumping the gun" on spending the money to put that one on the ballot (perhaps they should pay, since they are so concerned about the expenditure of student money). I am tired of everyone indicating that the excellence of the schools are based on other items except education. Education is not based on dollar amounts but the dedication, abilitiy of the teachers to teach and the parents insuring that the child is ready and eager to learn. It is not based on the football team, or the band, the cheerleaders, the basketball team, the show choir, etc. Students can participate in these activities, but perhaps they should have to pay for them. As for busing -- there is nothing wrong with a child walking to school (yes I have them and yes they walked/rode their bike) -- if the parents are so concerned then they can walk with them, drive them, form car pools, etc. I was under the impression that this is why we have "neighborhood" schools. The only issue is where there are no sidewalks and safety is at an issue (no a child walking to school is not dangerous). Maybe it is time for a good hard look as to why the schools are there, where the money is not being used wisely, and what is really important in the education system. With the defeat of Issue 2, this is going to be extremely challenging.
Mark Kylemore November 10, 2011 at 12:14 PM
Good points Nancy. These comments fom Ms Sinsigalli are borderline irresponsible. A $150,000 bill from the board of elections? Ms Sinsigalli, the school lard under our leadership should ave been more responsible and judiscious in how how much and for what tie period taxpayers were asked to ore. This last go around lost specifically due to the strategy the board took in deceitfully not being upfront that they were looking for a permanent tax. Look in the mirror Jennifer and you will see the reason for these defeats.
George Sklinchar November 10, 2011 at 01:47 PM
I am a state union worker. Due to the state's fiscal conditions, we have not had a raise in 6 years. My spending ability is what I had 10 years ago. Our department gave up over $200 million in order to do our part to help balance the budget and it meant a reduction of medical benefits, higher cost to me if I am sick and use my benefits, reductions in my retirement, unpaid furlough days, loss of step pay and loss of longevity. I am grateful that I am able to keep working, but I cannot find it in myself that I am the only one who should shoulder all the responsibility for a failed state budget and economy. Times are really bad now and if it means no school cheerleaders and parents have to pay for their children to play in school sports, then so be it. Everyone and every department has to tighten their belts, cut out the unneccessary fat and get back to basics. Let education of our children be the main focal point here. When our economy regains itself, we can then think about the little extras that add so many thousands of dollars to the budget. This is the reason I felt I had to vote against the school levy.
Ken McEntee November 10, 2011 at 06:02 PM
School levies failed in Cincinnati and Strongsville. Cincinnati reaction: "We believe our community supports us, they just didn't have the money," Superintendent Mary Ronan said. "We'd still like to thank all our voters. We came up a little bit short." Strongsville reaction: "I'm very disappointed," Sinisgalli said. "It's a renewal for God's sake. We've been paying this tax for 10 years."
PJ November 11, 2011 at 02:45 PM
Strongsville School District appears to be focused more on how the students/taxpayers will help the system succeed than how the system can help the child/community succeed. If the system puts itself in the center like Strongsville seems to, then it makes sense they would express disappointment in how they have been let down by their subjects: students, parents and community. Schools that put the child - each child, one at a time - in the center have a much better relationship with the community because each child matters.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »