School levies around the state did not fair well in Tuesday’s election.
Twenty-five failed, 10 passed, and one was pulled from the ballot. If you’re keeping score, that means more than 70 percent of school levies failed.
Schools have struggled to get levies passed in the last few elections, and there’s a pretty easy explanation for that: when the economy is slow, folks object to anything that will raise their taxes.
But, at least this year, there may be another reason.
Part of the reason districts had trouble passing levies is “the political rhetoric that is much larger beyond the specific school district,” says Stephen Brooks, a political scientist at the University of Akron’s Bliss Institute.
Brooks says that is “a national discussion about whether the more government or more taxes or we if can end up cutting taxes and being successful.”
This being a presidential election year, voters are being inundated with messages about big versus small government. And Brooks says even fears around the economy are usually just that – fears. It’s not necessarily that people literally can’t afford higher taxes, it’s that they’re not confident enough that the economy will bounce back.
Brooks says voters may be surprised at just how much schools are hurting these days. Given deeper than expected budget cuts from the state, schools may have a harder time bouncing back from failed levies than in the past. He predicts the schools that saw their levies fail will likely return to voters next year, since taxes are one of their few sources of revenue.
Many of Ohio’s more than 600 school districts, including Cleveland, Toledo, and Akron, have decided to wait until the big election day in November to try their chances, hoping a presidential election will draw out a bigger, more school-friendly voter turnout.
Aug. 7 School Issue Unofficial Results
New, Renewal or Replacement
|Ashtabula Area City||Ashtabula||Property Tax||New||Failed|
|Geneva Area City||Ashtabula||Property Tax||New||Failed|
|Jefferson Area Local||Ashtabula||Property Tax||New||Failed|
|Monroe Local||Butler*, Warren||Property Tax||New||Failed|
|Columbiana Exempted Village||Columbiana*, Mahoning||Property Tax (Bond)||New||Failed|
|Brecksville-Broadview Heights City||Cuyahoga||Property Tax||Renewal||Passed|
|Tri-Village Local||Darke||Property Tax||New||Failed|
|Buckeye Valley Local||Delaware*, Marion, Morrow, Union||Combined: Income Tax, Property Tax (Bond)||New||Failed|
|Margaretta Local||Erie*, Sandusky||Property Tax||Renewal||Passed|
|Swanton Local||Fulton*, Lucas||Property Tax||Renewal||Passed|
|Chardon Local||Geauga*, Lake||Property Tax||New||Failed|
|Xenia Community City||Greene||Earned Income Tax||Replacement||Failed|
|Lockland Local||Hamilton||Property Tax||New||Removed from ballot|
|East Holmes Local||Holmes*, Wayne||Property Tax||New||Failed|
|Madison Local||Lake||Property Tax||New||Failed|
|North Fork Local||Licking*, Knox||Earned Income Tax||New||Failed|
|Buckeye Local||Medina||Property Tax||New||Passed|
|Bethel Local||Miami||Property Tax||Renewal||Passed|
|Bethel Local||Miami||Property Tax||Replacement||Passed|
|Tipp City Exempted Village||Miami||Property Tax||New||Failed|
|Northmont City||Montgomery*, Darke, Miami||Property Tax||Renewal||Passed|
|Clear Fork Valley Local||Richland*, Knox||Earned Income Tax||New||Failed|
|Clyde-Green Springs Exempted Village||Sandusky||Property Tax||New||Failed|
|Green Local||Scioto||Property Tax||New||Failed|
|Jackson Center Local||Shelby*, Auglaize, Logan||Earned Income Tax||New||Failed (by 1 vote)|
|Louisville City||Stark||Property Tax||New||Failed|
|Osnaburg Local||Stark*, Carroll||Earned Income Tax||New||Failed|
|Coventry Local||Summit||Combined: Bond (Property Tax), Additional Property Tax||New||Failed|
|Barberton City||Summit||Property Tax||New||Failed|
|Woodridge Local||Summit||Property Tax||New||Failed|
|Dalton Local||Wayne||Property Tax||Renewal||Passed|
|Bryan City||Williams||Property Tax (Bond)||New||Failed|
|Edon Northwest Local||Williams||Combined: Income Tax, Property Tax||New||Failed|
|Lake Local||Wood*, Ottawa||Property Tax||Additional||Passed|
Source: County Boards of Election | Download Data
Note: A table in an earlier version of this post incorrectly described the Groveport Madison levy. It is a substitute levy.