CLEVELAND - Supporters for Riverside Local Schools say without their levy passing, more cuts are coming.
Families in the district are already dishing out $700-$900 per student, per sport. That's the highest pay-to-play rate in Ohio. Other non-sports activities like band, drama and mock-trial will also cost you hundreds of dollars to participate.
That's part of the reason why dozens of community leaders, students and parents turned out Sunday at a rally in Concord Township. The event was organized to support the 3.9-mill levy the district has placed on this year's November ballot.
"We've already cut more than $7 million to balance our budget." said event organizer Jennifer Harden.
This is the fourth time in the last couple of years that Riverside Local has placed a levy on the ballot to fund the schools. Each time, it's failed.
But school officials hope that this time will be different.
"This is the last chance to pass a levy to restore many of the services that have been cut," said Harden.
Besides pay to play, the district cut bussing and many elective classes for high school students. Art and music has been drastically reduced at the elementary level. As for teachers, pay raises have been eliminated.
Organizers said the levy would generate more than $3 million for the district and allow them to restore many of the cuts made. Pay to play fees would be reduced, but not eliminated. The district would also not ask for another levy until at least 2019.
"We have a balance budget now," said Harden, "But without this levy, the district would be forced to cut even further."
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