NORTH RIDGEVILLE - School officials and supporters are disappointed by the failure Nov. 5 of issues 16 and 17, but they are not giving up. The questions, according to Superintendent Roxann Ramsey-Caserio, are when and how to put the issues before voters again.
Discussions to answer those questions will start at Tuesday’s 6 p.m. school board meeting at the North Ridgeville Academic Center’s Community Room.
+"Obviously, we are disappointed that the issues did not pass, but we are committed to ensuring that our schools can continue to provide the educational opportunities our community’s children need for success," Ramsey-Caserio said.
"Both needs — the levy and the bond — still persist," she added. "Our facilities are failing. Our buildings are way over capacity. It's just a matter of time before we're going to need to start discussing when we bring the trailers in to use for classrooms. We need to look at the long-term viability of our schools. If we can't pass an operating levy in the near future, we are going to have to start looking at making cuts."
District leaders had wanted to build a new high school, a 1,000-seat performing arts center and elementary school for students in kindergarten through third grade. Issue 16, a maximum 37-year bond issue, would have raised up to $132 million to pay for that construction. The performing arts center was proposed to be added onto the new high school. Issue 17 would have raised $10.6 million annually to help cover the district’s operating costs.
One reason for the defeat of Issue 16 expressed repeatedly on a community Facebook page was the higher property taxes homeowners would face because they believe they are already paying enough. Owners of a home valued at $100,000 would have seen their property taxes increase $264 a year. Owners of a home valued at $300,000 would have seen a $792 increase in annual property taxes.
Issue 17 was a renewal and would not have raised taxes.
Michael McMillan, president of the 306-member North Ridgeville Education Association, was equally disappointed about the defeat.
"I am surprised that Issue 17 failed because it was not an increase in taxes, but a more efficient plan to keep operations in place without going to the ballot every other year for renewals,” he said. “The funding is essential, especially in a growing district like ours.”