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Cuyahoga Falls City Council Backs Issue 5

On Aug. 7, voters will decide the fate of Issue 5, a five-year, 6.83-mill levy, aimed at generating $15 million in revenue for the cash-strapped Woodridge Local Schools district.

On Monday, the Cuyahoga Falls City Council unanimously passed a resolution, 10-0, urging voters to approve the proposed Woodridge Local Schools levy otherwise known as Issue 5.

If passed, the five-year, 6.83-mill levy would generate $15 million in revenue and cost homeowners $209 per year for every $100,000 in valuation, said district Superintendent Walter Davis.

The district hasn’t passed a levy since 2004.

Over that eight-year period, state funding has remained stagnant, the district’s student body has increased by about 15 percent and expenditures -- such as salaries, school supplies and utility costs -- have continued to rise, said Woodridge treasurer Deanna Levenger.

School officials have cut 10 percent or over the last two years to remain in the black. 

If  fails on Aug. 7, voters will cast ballots on an identical levy this November. 

In the event the November issue fails, the will need to approve seven-figure cuts () to keep the budget balanced and in the black through 2015, said Levenger.

The reductions would go into effect July 1, 2013, she said.  

The district has seen two issues fail by fewer than 250 votes apiece in November of 2011 and again this past March.

In an attempt to close the narrow gap, the has gone door-to-door, staked yard signs, blogged and passed out fliers to engage the 900 or so voters who neglected to cast ballots on the March issue.

Another challenge is the increase in opposition to the levy spearheaded by the Citizens for Public Equality, which, according to its Facebook page is “a Summit County PAC working on reducing the skyrocketing levels of governmental spending at the county and city levels.” 

In its Facebook posts, the political group says striking down the levy would inhibit unions, specifically the Woodridge Educators Association, from negotiating large salary and benefit packages for the district’s teachers.

The WEA, board of education and school administrators will sit down in the summer of 2013 to establish new teacher contracts

Offer your thoughts on the story in the Comments below. Should Issue 5 pass or fail?

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