Cleveland voters react to 15 mill school levy on November ballot

CLEVELAND - There's mixed reaction from Cleveland voters about the 15 mill levy that will be on the November ballot. The levy, if passed, will cost the owner of a $50,000 Cleveland  home nearly $230 a year.

Nicole Griffin is a Cleveland homeowner, a mother of four and a taxpayer.

"As far as the taxes going up, I'm really not for that but I do have two kids in Cleveland schools who do need an education," said Griffin.

District officials said the levy would raise an estimated $50 to $60 million a year for four years. The district has cut more than $114 million in two years, including 500 teachers and staff this year.

Barbara Reese's son is out of school, she is retired and on a fixed income, but she said the extra money is an investment in the future.

"I think we have to do something with the schools and if it takes a little more money as long as it is used wisely I don't object to it," said Reese.

But Stan Murphy is retired, with grown children as well. The 62-year-old has a part time job just to pay the bills.

"For me, it's not a good idea," said Murphy.

Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon proposed the levy on July 18, and school board members passed it on July 31. Its main purpose is to fund the Cleveland Plan for education reform. However, if it fails, another 700 to 800 teachers and staff will be cut, as the district goes into a $50 million deficit.

The last time Cleveland voters approved an operating levy for the school district was in 1996. Voters passed a bond issue in 2001 for building repairs. Levy attempts in 2004 and 2005 both failed.

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