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Lakewood Voters Overwhelmingly Approve School Levy

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 cuts to education from the state of Ohio.

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

The original Bill May 08, 2013 at 09:00 AM
Glad to see all those whiners on here were in the minority
LvnLkwd May 08, 2013 at 10:51 AM
Less than 10% of voters showed up to vote on this issue, very sad.
Heather May 08, 2013 at 12:38 PM
I personally didn't vote because I don't own a home. I think it's unfair for me to say "Yes, tax those other people!"
Judy Fesko May 08, 2013 at 01:11 PM
The levy committee us to be commended for its hard work and support of our schools. Once again we have shown why Lakewood is such a great community in which to raise our kids!
Cherie Simpson May 08, 2013 at 08:15 PM
Sadly, it just MIGHT have been a case of people AGAINST the levy not bothering to vote. Homeowners have faced property tax increases because of the schools in 2004, 2007 and in 2010. And now, another increase because of THIS levy. That's EVERY THREE YEARS!!!!!!! Maybe your pockets are that deep but mine ARE NOT. Can hardly wait for 2016; am sure there will be another levy on the ballot. Hopefully by then, I will be able to sell my home and LEAVE Lakewood, a city that has been my home for 56 YEARS!!!! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! Sincerely, A Whinner
Steve May 08, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Yea right, all 3203 that voted for this. At what real cost???
The original Bill May 08, 2013 at 11:40 PM
You are confusing Bond Issues with Levies. There is a difference.
Linda Rogers May 09, 2013 at 12:04 PM
I don't have children so the schools don't matter to me in that respect. However, as a homeowner (and Realtor), I do realize that having a thriving school system only helps the value of my property. I'll pay my share and try not to whine.
The original Bill May 09, 2013 at 11:39 PM
I'm with you Linda. The last of my children graduated from Lakewood High School a few years ago and I have no problem at all with paying a few more bucks to help other children. I will be retiring in a few years and when I downsize I know that having a good school system will help sell my house. That is one of the reasons why I bought in Lakewood 25 years ago.
DLSJR May 10, 2013 at 02:52 PM
I'm glad it passed, but I was against the levy. Wanted to save a little bit on the increase of expenses the city has added to my commercial property (apartment building) this year. I pay more property tax than my parents do for their home in Bay, and their house has a higher value than mine. In Lakewood commercial properties already pay a higher tax % than = valued residential properties, and we are provided with less services from the city. We have to pay private trash services ever since the city went to an automated system, and I think our properties wont have curbside recycling soon either.
DLSJR May 10, 2013 at 02:59 PM
With commercial properties, expenses reflect in the value of the property. I have to either raise rents to keep up with the expenses, or lower the value of the property. Also non property owners pay when taxes are increased, that is why rents have increased so much over the past two years.
Kimberly May 12, 2013 at 03:57 PM
We need to solve the problem that caused the need for it. The state budget is getting balanced by cut to schools and other local programs. We are getting financially raped by Kasich and what is getting passed in Columbus.
Cherie Simpson May 12, 2013 at 04:07 PM
To Original Bill: No Bill, I am NOT confusing bond issues/levy. I am FULLY AWARE there is a difference!!! However, it makes ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENCE to me what they are CALLED. Our property taxes have INCREASED EVERY THREE YEARS SINCE 2004!!!!! Am happy you can afford the "few extra bucks" every time a bond issue or levy is passed....MANY of us CANNOT - that's what is not understood. I was educated in the Lakewood School system; graduated from Lakewood High School; the same applies to my daughter. I understand a good school system is important to a community, for many reasons, I am not stupid. I am talking about increased property taxes that are a burden to some of the elderly in our community and to people like me. Yes, the elderly get homestead exemptions but it many cases, on their fixed incomes, ever increasing property taxes are STILL a burden. Many of these people have lived in Lakewood most of their lives, as have I. We have paid our fair share for the education of children in Lakewood, many times over. It's time for the Board of Education to make some deeper cuts. If more programs need to be cut, then so be it. Many school districts across the nation have had to do the same. Property owners should not be expected to support school systems infinitum. Overall, I blame the apathetic voters in Lakewood not bothering to vote against the levy that just passed. Am sure there are more people like me out there, they just didn't bother to show up at the polls.
The original Bill May 12, 2013 at 06:26 PM
I'm sure there are more people like you out there but thankfully they, like you, are in the minority. Why did you first buy your house in Lakewood? Did you not realize that with a serious lack of commercial and industrial property in Lakewood that homeowners would bear the burden for supporting our schools? I knew that before I bought my house. I also knew that Lakewood residents always have supported the schools. In fact a couple of years after I bought my house in 1990 the schools had an operating levy that was voted down. It was the first time Lakewood had ever voted down a levy in our history. After a 2nd failure at the polls there was a committee put together by the school board which consisted of residents and board members. Through a number of public meetings a plan was put together to reduce costs and streamline operations. Afterwards the levy was put back on the ballot and passed handily as all levies since have done. I am very confident at how the schools handle our money. The fact of the matter is after the State of Ohio cut funding to the schools by $6.5 Million there was no way to cut that much from expenditures. Oh and btw those bond issues that were passed for the reconstruction are not permanent, they are for 20 years. This means after 20 years they stop collecting the additional tax. If I recall correctly the first 2 bond issues increased my taxes about $180 a month. That is how much my taxes will drop after those bonds are paid off.
Lakewood216 May 12, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Most of the opponents of the levy voted for Kasich, who stole our money to give to his JobsOhio cronies and GOP strongholds in rural/Southern Ohio. If you voted for Kasich and other Republicans for state office, you're part of the problem.
Lakewood216 May 12, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Cherie, you want Lakewood to turn into Parma? Then again, you sound like the type that'll be moving to Medina or Avon or some distant township in the next few years anyway.
Patch reader May 13, 2013 at 12:04 AM
"Homeowners have faced property tax increases because of the schools in 2004, 2007 and in 2010. And now, another increase because of 
THIS levy. That's EVERY THREE YEARS!!!!!!! Maybe your pockets are that deep but mine ARE NOT. Cherie Simpson, you made an excellent point. I would not want to move to a levy happy community that jacked my taxes up every time someone squawed 'its for the CHILDREN'. The kids in Lakewood are just fine. Even without this additional money they get a better education than half the nation. Home owners shouldn't be asked to subsidize anything other than the three Rs.
dougmoore May 13, 2013 at 05:40 AM
To Cherie..the sooner the better..if you're happy..we're happy! To Heather..if you rent in Lakewood you "pay"..if you live in an alley..see Linda! Seriously..this vote will have a ripple effect on the quality of Lakewood student's education, demonstate the quality of a caring & smart community. This needs to be dove-tailed with other strong community assets when marketing this progressive & responsible diverse city! GO RANGERS!

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