CLEVELAND - "Just say no. Just say no," was what Kimberly Brown and several others chanted together at a backyard cook-out and rally Saturday. It's Brown's answer to the school levy Clevelanders will be voting on, on this November's ballot.
Brown, who organized the rally at her own home, said she's protesting because for her, the levy is not about education.
"I believe the levy is to help us pay for that deficit that taxpayers did not cause. Here again, I remind you of 2009 when they had the $55 million deficit, they still laid off teachers like they did last year ... If it was about the children, they would not lay off teachers, they would lay off administrators," said Brown.
If passed, NewsChannel5 reported the levy would cost the owner of a $50,000 home nearly $230 a year. But John Zitzner, founder of the Cleveland Entrepreneurship Preparatory School and Village Preparatory School, let us into his building and broke things down a little differently. "
It's 62 cents a day for the average Cleveland homeowner. It's an investment in our children, there's nothing more we should be investing in, " Zitzner said. "I said to somebody the other day, it's the cost of a Diet Coke, a couple of Diet Cokes a week and you could pay for this levy."
"We can promise to the community better results, which is what we deserve," said Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon. Gordon said voters will be able to vote down the measure in four years if they don't like the performance. He added, if passed, the levy would provide needed longer school days and newer classroom technologies, among other things.
"They don't even have books. Right. They barely have books, they go through shared books at school," is how Latoya and Chiffon described their siblings' classroom experience when I asked them what high school is like for their brothers and sisters.
Brown said, "What our state legislators ought to be doing is finding a way to subsidize the funding rather than putting it on the backs of taxpayers."
However you fall on the issue, November will be the deciding month.
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