About half of the school levies on yesterday’s ballots passed. But the bulk of those were renewals of existing property taxes. That leaves close to 100 Ohio school districts scrambling to find new ways to cut costs and raise revenues after their levies failed.
Ninety-five percent of the 44 renewal levies around the state passed in Tuesday’s election. But voters approved only about a quarter of tax issues for new operating funds. Schools hoping for new construction money in the form of bond issues faired just as poorly.
Rob Delane with the Ohio School Boards Association says it’s not unusual for voters to extend existing levies, because people tend to support their schools, especially if they’re doing a good job.It’s also not unusual, he says, for new tax levies to fail, particularly during an economic recession. He says voters, “as far as their school districts are concerned, by and large they give their schools high marks and they love their schools and they support their schools in so many ways. But when it means parting with money that they may or may not have, that’s a difficult decision and you can understand why the levy passages are as low as they are.”
Delane says Governor John Kasich’s opposition to school taxes may have had an effect on the poor passage rates for new school levies too.
Delane says he’s not too worried about what this might mean for students; Ohio’s schools have been through difficult economic times before, and find ways to make ends meet.