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Strongsville schools will again seek approval of tax increase that voters rejected Nov. 6

November 12, 2018

Strongsville schools will again seek approval of tax increase that voters rejected Nov. 6

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio – The Strongsville schools will again seek approval of the proposed tax increase that voters overwhelmingly rejected Nov. 6.

However, Superintendent Cameron Ryba said the district administration and school board haven’t yet decided when to return to the ballot or whether to adjust the millage rate. He said school officials will discuss those matters over the next few weeks and months.

“We will seek another opportunity to place this operating levy on the ballot, as these dollars are critical to the future of our district and the opportunities we are able to provide students,” Ryba said in a Nov. 7 press release.

“Continued failure of this operating levy will result in cost-reduction measures that will negatively affect our district’s programs, services and resources for our students,” Ryba said.

Ryba said the tax would have supported advanced-placement and honors courses, extracurricular activities, safety measures, transportation, updated technology and textbooks. He didn’t say whether these items are at risk due to the levy failure.

According to unofficial results from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, Issue 8 -- a new, 7.9-mill tax that would have generated about $11.3 million annually for Strongsville schools’ operating expenses, including teachers’ salaries -- was defeated 12,346 to 7,605 on the Nov. 6 ballot. About 62 percent of voters said no to the tax.

“Although we are disappointed with the election results for Issue 8, our district will continue to move forward,” Ryba said.

“We would like to thank the many volunteers who supported Issue 8, going door to door, hosting neighborhood coffee talks, placing yard signs throughout the community and endorsing Issue 8 by sharing the positive story of Strongsville City Schools,” Ryba said.

The new tax would have cost the owner of a Strongsville home valued at $100,000 an additional $23 a month, or $276 a year, district officials said before the election. Property owners currently pay about $1,256 a year in taxes to the district, according to calculations based on Ohio Department of Taxation records.

Ryba said the 7.9-mill tax would have allowed the district to maintain its existing level of staffing, programs and services through the 2025-2026 school year.

In May, district officials said that, without the tax, Strongsville schools would start deficit spending in 2019 -- meaning that expenses would exceed revenues and that the district would need to tap into its savings to balance the budget -- until district savings are wiped out in 2022.

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