Cleveland schools pass levy renewal

Cleveland residents voted to pass the school district levy. Cleveland voters support the direction the Cleveland Metropolitan School District is heading, as shown by their 67.8 percent approval of Issue 108. Renewal of the 15-mill levy gives CMSD another four years to continue progress evident under The Cleveland PlanThe levy was initially passed in 2012. It was the first time in 16 years that voters had provided the schools with additional money for operating expenses.

Since 2012, student attendance and enrollment have increased, scores on the Nation’s Report Card showed improvement and CMSD’s graduation rate increased 17 percent to a record high.

The CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Eric Gordon, says the extension of the levy will allow the district to move on from what he called a period of disruption in the schools.

“I’m really interested in expanding our arts and music programming. I didn’t get to do that in the last four years, extra curriculars, more technology for kids, but all of those things in service to improved results.”

“I am proud of the work we have accomplished over the last four years,” Gordon said, “and I’m grateful that the community has recognized the improvements and given us another four years to accelerate these gains.”

Cleveland schools progress (Source: CMSD)
Cleveland schools progress (Source: CMSD)

The revenue provided by Issue 108 is critical to carrying out reforms charted by Cleveland’s Plan for Transforming Schools, better known as The Cleveland Plan. The 15-mill levy generates up to $69.7 million a year, or 10 percent of the District’s operating budget, without raising taxes. CMSD shares 1 mill, or about $4.6 million, with charter school partners.

CMSD’s enrollment has been rising after decades of decline.  Surveys showed that as many as 75 percent of citizens surveyed believe CMSD is improving and rate their public schools as fair or better. Once on the verge of insolvency, the District is now on a long run of financial stability.

The Cleveland Teachers Union sent out a news release late Tuesday thanking the city for passing the levy.

“When students have stability in their schools and classrooms and educators have the materials necessary to teach with – we will see results in academic outcomes. The gains will continue as long as the stability continues,” union president David Quolke said in the release.

Read about the progress CMSD is seeing under The Cleveland Plan here.