Students from Willoughby-Eastlake school district walk out in protest of failed levy

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LAKE COUNTY, Ohio – Voters rejected a tax levy in the Willoughby-Eastlake City School District Tuesday.

Fifty-three percent of people who participated in the election voted against it.

The tax levy would have funded operational expenses.

The school district said they needed to replace money that would be phased out by a reduction in Tangible Personal Property money from the state.

The district had said if the levy failed, it would have to make cuts in transportation, middle school and freshman athletics and some extracurricular activities.

The district released the list of cuts Wednesday:

-Cut Busing to State Minimums (eff. August 1, 2020)
-Eliminate Field/Band Trips (eff. Nov 7, 2019)
-Eliminate SOI High School  (eff. August 1, 2020)
-Eliminate Crossroads (eff. Jan. 3, 2020)
-Eliminate Middle Schools Police Officers (eff. Jan. 3, 2020)
-Eliminate All Middle School Athletic Programs (eff. Nov. 7, 2019)
-Eliminate All District Non-Athletic Supplementals (eff. Nov. 7, 2019)
-Eliminate Freshman Athletic Programs (eff. Nov 7 2019)
-Reduce Travel & Meeting Expenses by 90% (eff. Nov 7, 2019)
-Reduce Instructional Expenses by 10% (eff. Nov. 7, 2019)
-Reduce Classroom Supplies by 10% (eff. Nov. 7, 2019)
-Reduce Due & Fee Expenses by 10% (eff. Nov. 7, 2019)
-Sell Browning, Wash., Taft, McKinley (starting Nov. 7, 2019)

“You look at our voted millage, it’s one of the lowest in all of Lake County, our per-student expenditure is one of the lowest in Lake County. Cutting now is painful,” said Superintendent Steve Thompson.

The Board of Education gave the superintendent and treasurer guidelines in making the cuts. They set a priority for the cuts to create as little impact to direct classroom instruction, according to the school system.

Thompson said House Bill 305, which is still in committee, could supply an estimated $1.3 million in additional funding that would help toward the overall cuts deficit.

Another vote on the levy will be held in March. Thompson said the board will evaluate whether the levy should be up as a continuous vote once again or as an emergency operating levy for a fixed amount of time. If passed, it would not start collection until January of 2021.

Students say they plan to continue raising awareness across the district until that vote. Some of them walked out of school Wednesday in protest of the levy’s failure.

“We know that once we meet together again and continue working it will be a district-wide effort.”

You can check out the full election results here.

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