© 2024 Ideastream Public Media

1375 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
(216) 916-6100 | (877) 399-3307

WKSU is a public media service licensed to Kent State University and operated by Ideastream Public Media.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Amid inflation, voters quash Parma, Nordonia school levies, approve those in North Olmsted, Rocky River

Cars pass by a pro-Issue 9 sign in Parma.
Ryan Loew
Ideastream Public Media
Cars pass by a pro-Issue 9 sign in Parma.

As voter concerns about inflation continue to grow, several attempts to get new funding for school districts in Northeast Ohio fell flat, including in Parma and Nordonia Hills City School District. However, elsewhere, voters were more charitable, with plenty of school levy renewals passing and some other new-dollar requests getting approved.

The Parma City School District bond issue was defeated for a third time in the last two-plus years by a margin of a little under 2,000 votes, according to unofficial results Tuesday night from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

That failure means plans will not move forward to build a state-of-the-art new high school building at the site of Parma Senior High School. Voters have approved levies and bond issues in the district just three times in 20 attempts in recent years.

Superintendent Charlie Smialek said earlier Tuesday that the district will continue with plans to demolish the high school and move students to the district's two other high school buildings, with hopes of getting a new levy passed another time to fund construction of a new building on the Parma Senior High School site.

Also in Cuyahoga County, voters narrowly approved a combined levy and bond issue for the North Olmsted City Schools that officials say will prove critically important for the district. Superintendent David Brand has previously said the district would run out of money by the 2024-2025 school year if it didn't get a new infusion of support from voters.

Voters in the Rocky River City School District in Cuyahoga County approved a second attempt at a new levy to fund operations at the school district, with a small portion of funds set to go toward upgrading facilities like the stadium and high school kitchen.

Advocates there had said the district would need to make millions of dollars worth of cuts if the levy didn't pass, which could harm the district's academic quality even as it's known as one of the highest-performing districts in the state.

A new-dollar tax levy in Bay Village City School District was also approved. Brooklyn and Fairview Park school districts' renewal attempts were also successful.

Meanwhile, in Summit County, voters voted down a large bond issue in the Nordonia Hill City School District meant to fund construction of a new portfolio of school buildings to replace the district’s aged facilities. Advocates said the school district's buildings are old, more than 100 years old in some cases, and in need of replacement in order to have modern amenities for students.

Elsewhere in Summit County, attempts to pass levies were more successful, with a successful attempt at Copley-Fairlawn City School District to pass a bond issue to fund facility improvement, as well as a new operating levy at Stow-Munroe Falls City School District, and two levy renewal attempts at Coventry and Twinsburg schools (although Coventry was by a narrow, 100-vote margin). A new Springfield Local School District levy proposal was rejected.

Other attempts to get levies approved in other Northeast Ohio counties passed had mixed results.

  • A major bond issue at the North Ridgeville City School District in Lorain County failed, as did an attempt by the city to get an income tax increase approved to build a new community center in partnership with the school district. An operating levy attempt at Midview Local School District in Grafton failed, wile the Columbia Local School District levy succeeded.
  • In Lake County, residents showed more support for levies, approving a renewal levy at the Painesville City Local School District and another, smaller renewal levy in the Willoughby-Eastlake City School District.
  • In Mahoning County, two levy renewals at the Boardman Local School District were approved; a new Lowellville Local School District levy was potentially approved narrowly by a 25-vote margin; an attempt to renew a levy at Poland Local School District succeeded and a .5% earned income tax attempt at West Branch Local School District failed.
  • Levy renewal attempts at the Massilon and Marlington school districts were successful in Stark County, but a substitute levy at the Louisville City Schools failed.

Across Ohio, renewal levies – which just renew old tax levies at the same rate, based on property tax values when the levy initially was approved – typically tend to be less controversial and voters are more likely to approve them. That proved true this election cycle. New-dollar levies often prove to be more difficult asks, especially in times of economic challenges.

Conor Morris is the education reporter for Ideastream Public Media.