July 23, 2014

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North Ridgeville school levy defeated third time in a row

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — More than 10,600 people cast ballots in Tuesday’s defeat of a 4.9-mill, 10-year emergency operating levy for the city schools.

While the total number of voters was the largest in recent memory for a school issue, it still ended in the third consecutive defeat of the district’s efforts to seek financial relief.

Unofficial returns had the levy defeated by a vote of 5,598 to 5,036, or 53 percent against and 47 percent in favor.

“Over 5,000 voters showed their support and that’s encouraging news to some extent,” Superintendent Larry Brown said. “At least we convinced a good proportion of people of the need for these additional revenues.”

The issue would have generated $3.5 million annually to help forestall further cuts in teaching and non-teaching staff, building and department budgets, reduced after-school programs, and less busing.

The school board will meet in special session tonight to discuss where to go next, including placing the issue back on the ballot next year.

Even with the cuts that have already been made, the schools will need to borrow money against anticipated tax collections in 2012 from existing tax issues to meet payroll and other costs come January and February, Brown said.

“That’s how tight our finances are,” Brown said.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.