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The Kent Board of Education held a "Community Celebration" Tuesday to thank residents for approving a levy on the May 7 ballot.
Supporters of the levy packed the Theodore Roosevelt High School cafeteria for the short presentation before the regular board meeting.
The 8.9-mill continuing operating levy was approved by voters by a 60 percent margin, Superintendent Joe Giancola said. The levy will generate about $4.25 million per year for the district.
"From the very beginning we focused on the needs of the students, and the community responded," he said.
Doris Brown, one of the leaders of the levy committee, recalled her own experience teaching first-graders at Seiberling Elementary School in Akron. At the time, she said, there were no kindergarten classes, so her classroom was the first place children learned to read. Despite the lack of windows and a classroom in the basement, she said, "We had a great time. Those were great years."
Recently, she said, she was contacted by one of her former students and was asked to be the guest of honor at the school's class reunion. The former first-grader, now 62, told Brown, "We're all still reading."
"It boils down to a simple strategy of dedication to help build the future of a young child," she said. "If you give them that, you're doing the best that you can."
"This was a total team effort," said Brian Boykin, president of the board, thanking the staff, students and residents who worked to pass the levy. "Without individuals like Doris, this wouldn't have been possible."
Giancola told the board that the levy funds are included in the district's latest five-year forecast, but that money "will not bring us totally solvent unless we enact further cost savings." Those recommendations, he said, will be presented to the board in June.
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It is a continuing levy,meaning that they'll get that forever. Now they can focus on ratcheting up more and more, with out fear of losing what they've gotten so far.
It makes me wonder how much more the schools are going to as for in five years? Next time a school levy is asked for, I believe only property owners in Kent should be allowed to vote on the issue. That is the only fair way to put a tax on them because they are the one's that must pay for it. College students and renters should have no say when the money doesn't come out of their pockets. This new school tax has put a real burden on those of us on fixed incomes.