Early voting has begun on Issue 11, a 4.9-mill Rocky River school levy on the May 4 ballot. The levy, according to school officials, is critically important as 82% of the district's revenues are generated from local sources. The last levy was passed in 2017.
The levy is 4.65 mills for operating expenses and 0.25 mills for permanent improvements. This levy was timed to coincide with a 1-mill reduction of a previous bond issue to minimize the cost. The levy would cost $11.74 per month for $100,000 of property valuation beginning in January 2022..
We believe the facts bear out administration officials’ claims that passing this levy is vital to maintaining academic vigor and bolstering social-emotional support of students’ needs, while also maintaining the quality of Rocky River facilities and operations.
While school levies often receive vigorous community pushback, the well-water of this effort has been poisoned by those looking to brand the administration and all teachers with the scarlet “A” of shame. Six teachers have left the district because of the scandal involving a group text message and what turned out to be a picture of a 1950s sitcom star altered to show her dress pulled up.
Who are opponents of the levy attacking? Mostly teachers with false accusations that they are paid more than they deserve, especially if they have advanced degrees (why is that bad?), get free health and medical benefits after retirement (untrue), and that old, worn-out trope of “they get summers and holidays off.” A recent conversation on a community Facebook page is a prime example of misinformation being spread under the guise of “discussion.” The page’s administrator noted that she doesn’t have time to fact check all posts.
Really? So spreading misinformation is OK then?
Teachers nationally — internationally, really — are just finishing nearly two years of reinventing their jobs. They recorded lessons, held Zoom classes, tutored remotely, gave tests remotely and answered emails from students and parents pretty much 24/7. There was no such thing as the bell at the end of the day or even a weekend.
Which brings us back to Rocky River school levy. An undercurrent of residents believe the levy should be defeated because they are mad. They are mad at school officials. They are mad at the Rocky River Police Department. They are mad at teachers and the teachers’ union. Some of the anger is justified and skepticism against the district is understandable. But any measured look at the levy is buried under misinformation and Facebook groups that dispel misinformation.
We looked at the facts. We read the reports. And we believe the levy is good for Rocky River students. And aren’t they the important ones?