It won’t be a complete surprise to the Lakewood School Board that the administration is looking to put a 3.9-mill operating levy before voters on May 7.
Board members have known for a while that some sort of financial assistance was needed to stop the bleeding from cuts in state funding and dwindling property values.
The district made $4 million in cuts last year, however most of the layoffs were reversed in the fall.
Superintendent Jeff Patterson is expected to formally introduce a measure to school board on Tuesday to place the operational levy on the ballot.
He told Lakewood Patch on Thursday that the levy would cost owners of a $100,000 home $10 per month.
“We’re very strategic about the 3.9 mills because we want to make sure we’re financial able to do things we want to do and keep the excellent programs we have now,” he said.
Last year, Patterson hosted a series of public community meetings around the city where residents voiced their opinions on programs and services that shouldn’t be cut — including arts, technology, music and sports.
Those programs were spared during the 2012 round of $4 million in cuts.
“If we’re not successful, we’re going to have to look at some additional reductions,” Patterson said. "We can continue to have an excellent school district without asking for more than we need to ask.”
He said, should the voters OK the measure, the district wouldn’t need to go back to voters for at least three years, “unless there was some great, unforeseen tragedy.”
The board has until Jan. 27 to file with the Cuyahoga County Auditor’s Office for the May 7 election.
“Part of the discussion is going to be that we have to keep this millage within reason,” Linda Beebe, the board vice president, recently said. “We’re not talking about going out and asking for 12 mills. We have to be very aware of how much we can ask for from the residents of Lakewood.”
In addition to the levy item, Patterson is expected to ask the board to review a measure that would put the shuttered McKinley Elementary School up for sale.