Cheers erupted in a small cafeteria at Lakewood High School as the results of the levy were projected on a screen on Tuesday night.
It was a night of good news for a school district that saw much of its 6.9-mill levy — passed in 2009 — “wiped out” by sweeping state cuts to education.
Issue 14 passed with about 68 percent of the vote, according to complete but unofficials results from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
Click here to see the results
Campaign volunteers, district officials and school board members were on hand, hoping for the best. The district had asked residents to approve the 3.9-mill operating levy to help offset some of the cuts made by the state.
Board president Ed Favre said the levy will help to maintain the programs and offerings in the district.
“It’s hanging on to what we’ve got,” he said as the final vote tally came in Tuesday. “We’ve made cuts. There are less course offerings and slightly larger classrooms. We’ve done trimming all over the place — we tried to do it surgically with little impact to the kids.
“This levy doesn’t give us a leap forward with huge amounts of new money. This allows us to hang on to what we’ve got.”
Click here to read Favre’s “thank you” letter to the community
The operating levy will cost owners of a $100,000 home $10 per month. Operating levies are used to pay for regular expenses, like salaries and classroom materials, in the school district.
The levy is expected to generate about $3.33 million each year for the Lakewood City Schools. The levy will bring in less money the first year, since it will only be in effect for half the year.
Collections won't begin until 2014.
“We are just so thankful to the community,” said board member Emma Petrie Barcelona. “This was a relatively small amount, at the same time we know that this is still a tough time for people… This is going to maintain our programs and keep us strong.”
Mayor Michael Summers, who was the co-chair of the levy committee along with Christina McCallum, said the victory was a “resounding show of support for the Lakewood Schools.”
“I’ve been a part of about 10 levy campaigns and I never take them for granted,” he added. “I continue to be impressed with how Lakewood continues to invest in its future. This is a great example of that.”
“I am totally happy that the levy passed, and I knew it would because Lakewood is an incredibly supportive community,” added board member Tom Einhouse.
“I am very thankful to the voters and the citizens of this community who show their ongoing support of the schools,” said district treasurer Tim Penton. “We are committed to being wise stewards of their support.”
See more: Voter turnout was "slow and steady" in Lakewood