Issue 107: What's at stake?

4:53 PM, Oct 11, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- The future of more than 40,000 Cleveland Schools students is in the balance as voters decide on Issue 107. What's at stake?

Cleveland Municipal School District CEO Eric Gordon says to think of a high school senior.

"The last time that we as a local community provided new dollars for his school system, he was one," said Gordon, referring to a levy passed 16 years ago.

Pass or fail, Issue 107 could change the reality for Cleveland. But is that message getting out to the streets?

"Actually, to be honest with you, I haven't heard a lot about it," said voter Jonny Peacock.

With a 4-year, 15-mill levy, supported 50/50 by businesses and homeowners, what would the Cleveland Metropolitan School District look like?

"The most obvious changes will be class sizes that look more like their suburban peers. Up-to-date text books and technologies like their suburban peers," said Gordon.

For 63 cents a day for the average homeowner, students could see new technology, more teachers who see better compensation and new school models.

"When Issue 107 passes, what we'll be able to do is start investing in the system, instead of the divesting we've done over several years," said Gordon.

Without the levy, Cleveland Schools will continue to cut. They'll face a $50 million deficit next year.

"We've already cut 1,000 employees, we'd look at having to cut another 500 or so," said Gordon.

That would be bigger classes, fewer schools and special programs. There's a chance the state could take over.

"We actually know the reality of what happens without 107, the issue is what we'll be able to do when we pass it," he said.

Some voters say it goes beyond the classroom.

"It's going to be a trickle-down effect," said Carole O'Donnell. She said she doesn't have school-age children, but she intends to vote for the levy.

"If the schools are good, more people are going to move into Cleveland, my house is going to be worth more money, it's the whole thing," she said. 

"If it has to mean more tax dollars coming out of our pockets, so be it. If it's for the kids' education and for their future," said Rebecca Hitchcock, who has grandchildren in the school system.

For more information about the levy, you can click here.


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