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OUR VIEW: 'No frills' funding bid goes back to ballot

ravenna schools must find way to convince voters on levy

Published: November 11, 2013 4:00 AM

The Ravenna Board of Ed-

ucation didn't waste any time deciding whether to return to the voters with the 4.9-mill school levy that they rejected last Tuesday. The board decided to seek a February vote on it the day after the election.

Board member Mike Tontimonia summed it up best: "It's not a want. It's a need."

The levy bid that lost by about 600 votes was the first request for new money for the Ravenna schools in eight years, so "levy fatigue" wasn't a factor in its defeat. It was a "no frills" request -- with no money for pay raises, because the district has contracts in place for employees through 2016. There were specific limitations on how the levy funds could be spent.

School officials say they have no choice but to make a second try at persuading voters to pass the levy. The Ravenna district, like most in Ohio, has seen state funding and local support decline and has been able to make ends meet by reducing expenses. Further cuts will impact the quality of education students will receive.

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The levy request being returned to the ballot is identical to the measure rejected last week. It is straightforward in terms of how the money will be spent: 1.9 mills earmaked for permanent improvements and maintenance for district facilities other the high school, which has its own improvements levy, and the remaining three mills to be spent on school security, technology and restoring programs that have been cut.

The levy will bring in an additional $1.5 million per year for the Ravenna district, which isn't a windfall but will boost its financial stability.

Between now and February, school officials will be making contingency plans that will be implemented if the levy bid fails, including changing the millage for future funding requests and re-examining how the funding will be allocated. We hope the second campaign is able to turn the tide with voters.

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little_r_republican Nov 11, 2013 12:13 PM

"The economy is doing the best it has done since the downfall over 10 years ago. The stock market is reaching a new high weekly. Employers hired more jobs in October than expected."  128 million able bodied adults dropped our of the job market. 93 million adults on tax payer funded assistance. New jobs last month didn't even keep pace with additional adults entering the workpool. Existing work being reduced to part time because of obamacare. yep...sure is a great economy being fostered by the new laws and regulations of this administration and congress.

little_r_republican Nov 11, 2013 11:58 AM

 "Who helped fund your education - the community. "  NOPE...my parents funded my education through grade school. I self funded my high school and college education. And...paid taxes for public education in addition then and still do now. A fancy building does not provide a good education. The first school building I attended was a small brick building in which first and second grade sat together.  I seriously doubt a current high school graduate could pass any test of the 6th grade from 1957

anonymous_59290 Nov 11, 2013 11:50 AM

It is not the board that you people are "rejecting" - it is the STUDENTS.  The future of our community is who you are rejecting.  Sebring and Littlr R - how selfish.  Who helped fund your education - the community.  People really need to sit down with the board and superintendant and really understand the facts.

Sebring - you state that the board has to realize they cannot run to the taxpayer every time they run out of money.  What do you think the school system has been doing - since it hasn't asked for new money for 8 years - they have been managing its money very well.  And - Obamacare and the economy.  Really - that is your excuse?  The economy is doing the best it has done since the downfall over 10 years ago.  The stock market is reaching a new high weekly.  Employers hired more jobs in October than expected.

little_r_republican Nov 11, 2013 7:54 AM

Just where am I going to get the new money to pay for this new money? Many of us took pay cuts several years back and have not received any pay increase since. It was the price to keep a job and any source of income. I don't have any more blood to give for new taxes.

sebringtwo Nov 11, 2013 6:06 AM

I disagree agree with the paper on this issue.

The Board says “they have no choice”. Yes, they do. They need to reduce costs further like any other business does when funding runs short. A cut in salary is just a start with benefit reductions for the staff. The board has to realize that you can not run to the taxpayer every time you run out of money. The taxpayer can not afford this new tax with Obamacare kicking in and uncertainty in the economy.

A “no” vote in February will send a CLEAR message to the board, suck it up.