Ravenna School District makes third try for levy

By Diane Smith | Staff Writer Published:

The Ravenna School District is making its third attempt to pass a 4.9-mill levy to fund permanent improvements and upgrades to security and technology.

The issue is on Tuesday's ballot as Issue 2. The levy failed in November 2013 and again this past February.

"Unlike last November, with this being our third try, we're starting to get a little more desperate," said Superintendent Dennis Honkala. "It's really a no-frills levy. It's really a need at this time."

The continuing levy would generate about $1.5 million per year. It would include 1.9 mills for permanent improvements, plus 1 mill each for school safety, technology and restoring programming that has been cut.

It would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an increase of $171.50 per year.

One of the things "off the table" is the "one-to-one initiative," which would have assigned a computer to every student to keep up with state testing requirements.

The district will still allocate 1 mill to technology, but will use some of that funding in other areas, as well as to make sure there are enough computers for standardized testing.

"Infrastructure needs are more important," Honkala said. He noted that there are issues at Brown Middle School and the elementary buildings that need to be addressed.

"This winter has taken a beating on our buildings with all the freezing and thawing. The high school is basically the only building we can afford."

That's because when voters approved the bond issue used to construct the building, they approved 1 mill for maintenance, for the new building only. Donations from the city's business community were used to fund recent improvements at the high school.

Honkala has warned in the past that this is the final time the district can afford to keep its request to 4.9 mills, and that the levy request will certainly be higher if it isn't approved this time.

He noted that all school levies eventually are approved by voters, and many districts have no choice but to ask for an increased amount when a levy fails because of a lost year of collection.

"We really want people to get in before it goes that high," Honkala said.

The district has detailed levy information on its website, www.supportravennaschools.com.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1139 or dsmith@recordpub.com

Facebook: Diane Smith, Record-Courier

Twitter: @DianeSmith_RC

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  • He noted that all school levies eventually are approved by voters,"....only after overwhelming pressure for non-residential taxpayers to finally agree to confiscate money from us. It is long oaverdue to change from a property tax to a tax everyone school tax. Then see how the tax increase vote goes...