Several Northeast Ohio school districts reevaluate after levies fail

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– Communities and school districts where levies failed at the ballot Tuesday say they’re evaluating next steps.

Nearly half of school levies on the ballot in Northeast Ohio failed, including all three school issues in Cuyahoga County.

“I was disappointed that the levy was defeated,” North Olmsted City Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Zalar said. “It was soundly defeated.”

North Olmsted voters rejected an operating levy to raise more than $7 million a year. Zalar said the district will solicit community feedback, and consider potential cuts and a future levy for the November election.

“By failing the levy, it doesn’t change the problem. The need doesn’t go away,” Zalar said. “We’ve been out over 10 years now without new operating revenue while our expenses continue to increase, so something needs to change. We can’t just cut our way out of this.”

A Rocky River City Schools tax levy also failed, as did a bond issue to build new schools in Parma.

“This loss was resounding. We will take a few days to reflect upon the message of last night’s results and then must soon work to rethink and retool,” Parma City School District Superintendent Charles Smialek said in a statement.

In Summit County, voters in the Springfield Local School District turned down a new income tax to fund the schools.

In Strongsville, voters rejected a levy that would have raised more than $3.3 million for Strongsville Fire and EMS.

Fire Chief Jack Draves said in a statement that he’s disappointed, but respects the wishes of voters.

“Rest assured we will continue to provide high-quality fire and EMS services to the community. We will have to reevaluate our staffing, operations, and all resources in the coming weeks and months.”

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