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Cleveland school levy costly but vital

6:47 PM, Sep 20, 2012   |    comments
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This fall, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District has a levy on the ballot asking voters to pass their comprehensive restructuring plan. The levy wouldn't just support a transformation, but cover a $65 million dollar deficit. The question is: will voters be for or against it?

Cleveland voters have only passed one levy in the last 29 years. But this levy, according to school and city leaders, is vital to the city's children and rebirth.

We spoke with two women, both homeowners raising their kids within the city limits. When it came time to put their kids in school, it was a tough choice. Both women enrolled their kids in private school because they didn't like the local CMSD school.

But these women are the voters who will decide whether or not to pass the 15 mill levy. The cost would mean the owner of a $50,000 dollar home, pays $230 dollars more in taxes.

"It's not something I would do. It doesn't seem like a lot of money, but it all adds up and it's just going to increase from there. They're not going to say, here's this money back," says Bernadette Meadows, a resident of Cleveland's near east side.

"I would actually probably vote for it. Even though I pay for school separate," says Katie Betters, resident of the West Park neighborhood.

Katie sees it as an investment in the future of Cleveland.

"If you want to attract people that are younger and have kids that are going to grow up in the area, then you need a good school system, or else people aren't going to want to move there."

Bernadette says she can't wait for the system to turn around. Her kids need a good education now.

"I definitely think it's going to be a hard sell."

If it's passed, the burden wouldn't just fall on homeowners. Approximately half of the property taxes benefiting schools are paid by businesses. This levy also contains a warranty in a way. It expires in 4 years, so if the plan doesn't work, voters can shoot it down the next time around.

Cleveland School Levy coverage

http://www.wkyc.com/news/specials/ClevelandSchoolLevy/default.aspx

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