Voters in the Ravenna
School District can be proud of their schools and the education that they provide for the community's young people.
Ravenna has one of the newest high schools in Ohio and a top-notch athletic facility. Its other school facilities are well maintained and meet the needs of students. The schools' focus on academic excellence shows in state report card ratings, which are now at the highest level ever achieved by the district; the most recent report card included 3 A's.
In recent years, like most school districts throughout the state, Ravenna has reduced its operating expenses as revenues at the state and local level have tightened. Among the belt-tightening efforts was the closing of Tappan Elementary School, whose enrollment had declined in recent years.
On the Nov. 5 ballot is a 4.9-mill continuing combination levy that will generate about $1.5 million per year for school operations. We urge a "Yes" vote on Issue 21.
The levy request is earmarked for specific purposes; combined they will ensure that the schools maintain quality academic offerings and facilities.
The levy includes 1.9 mills for maintenance of buildings and grounds, funds that will be used for repairs to the middle school and elementary buildings. Ravenna High School has its own maintenance fund tied to the bond issue that financed it, but that money cannot be used to maintain other facilities.
The remaining three mills would be earmarked for the following expenses: 1 mill to restore programming that has been lost or cut back, including high school electives and foreign language instruction; 1 mill for school safety, including security cameras and safety personnel costs; and 1 mill for technology upgrades.
Passage of the levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $171 per year in additional property taxes, which is about $14 per month. If the levy fails, the district faces the prospect of mounting deficits, which cannot go unaddressed. Future levy requests likely would be higher than the 4.9-mill levy, which is a relatively low millage request.
It has been more than eight years since Ravenna voters have been asked to provide additional local funding for their schools. That shows a prudent use of resources, making taxpayers' dollars stretch as state and local funding sources have declined.
Solid schools are one of Ravenna's most important assets. A "Yes" vote on Issue 21 is a wise investment in a major community resource.