School levy defeat would defund our schools
To the Editor:
For those trying to cut through all the nonsense and figure out whether to vote for the school levy this fall, here’s a simple check to see if the levy request is reasonable:
- In Ohio, the dollar amount raised from levies is fixed, so as prices (and hopefully home values) rise with inflation, the amount raised to fund the schools does not rise. That means if we don’t pass a levy every few years, we are effectively defunding public schools.
- With inflation hovering around 2 percent per year, prices rise about 8 percent every four years.
- The CH-UH district receives about $72 million per year in local property taxes; 8 percent of $72 million is about $6 million.
Conclusion: All else being equal, we need to pass a levy for an additional $6 million per year every four years or so if we don’t want to defund the public schools.
The last time we passed a school levy was in 2016, and the proposed levy on the ballot this November would raise about $5 million per year. The fact that this amount is lower than what one would expect just from inflation reflects the belt-tightening that our school board has already been doing, and expects to continue doing.
Of course, not everything else is equal: you can delve deeper into the numbers for enrollment, pay scales, benefits, administrators, changes to state funding levels, and state-mandated EdChoice payouts; some influence the numbers one way, some the other way. But the bottom line is that our school board has already trimmed millions from the budget, and it is critical that we pass this levy to support our kids, our public institutions, and our community.
Jesse Berezofsky is a professor of physics at Case Western Reserve Univesity, and a Boulevard Elementary School parent.