CLEVELAND - Both supporters and opponents of Issue 107, the Cleveland school levy, are optimistic that Tuesday's vote will go their way. However, NewsChannel5 political analyst Tom Sutton predicts passing the levy will be "an uphill battle."
If approved, the tax will be the funding source for the Cleveland Plan, a plan for transforming education in the city. It would raise about $65 million a year for the schools and cost the owner of a $50,000 home about $230 a year or 63 cents a day.
Without the tax, school leaders warn that the district will face additional budget deficits next year that will force the layoffs of at least 500 teachers and other staff.
Sutton, a political science professor at Baldwin Wallace University, said a recent article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer which listed the average Cleveland teacher salary as substantially higher than the average incomes of other Cleveland residents won't help the levy effort.
"If I were a voter on the fence and I saw those salaries, I would say chop those salaries if you need money," he said.
Sutton believes the overall economy, in a community decimated by housing foreclosures, will also be detrimental to levy passage.
On the other hand, Sutton sees several positives that could help the levy's chances of passage, including the city's STEM schools, single gender academies, Montessories, and charter schools as well as the fact that voters have not approved a new operating levy for Cleveland schools since 1996.
NewsChannel5 will be with school leaders Tuesday night as the votes are counted and will have their reaction to the outcome.
School Superintendent Eric Gordon will also be a guest Wednesday morning on Good Morning Cleveland.
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