September 20, 2014

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Voters say yes with larger issue for North Ridgeville Schools

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — After three straight failures for a 10-year emergency operating levy for the North Ridgeville Schools, voters finally said yes to a slightly bigger issue at the polls Tuesday.

According to unofficial returns from the Lorain County Board of Elections, the 5.9-mill levy was approved 8,207 to 6,297, or 57 percent to 43 percent, according to unofficial election returns.

Superintendent Larry Brown said the district benefited from the many voters who cast ballots Tuesday.

“We certainly appreciate the benefit of a large turnout,” Brown said. “We drove by at least five polling places and all of them had high volumes of voters.”

He credited the months of planning by the district’s levy committee for the win, which will generate $4.3 million annually for school programs and operating costs. Issue 43 will cost owners of homes valued at $100,000 an additional $180.69 in taxes a year.

“I’m pleased with what the citizens put together,” Brown said. “It was their plan and they did a good job.”

Maria Sycz, school board president, expressed hope earlier in the evening that the total turnout might be close to or exceed the May 2010 primary when close to 14,000 residents went to the polls for the county’s highest voter turnout of nearly 36 percent.

“This is the highest number we’ve had in awhile, which is probably due to the presidential election,” Sycz said.

Passage of Issue 43 is expected to stave off draconian cuts such as to athletics and extracurriculars, as well as elimination of art, music and physical education for children in grades kindergarten through eighth grades.

Sycz previously said passage of the levy would lead to reduction of class sizes, increases in high school course offerings, and bringing back teachers and support staff who were previously laid off, and reductions in pay-to-play fees for middle and high school students involved in sports.

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