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Reporting on the state of education in your community and across the country.

Cleveland Metropolitan School District Delays Vote on Nucleus Property Tax Deal

Artist rendering of nuCLEus, scheduled for completion in 2021. [Stark Enterprises]

Cleveland’s school district has postponed a vote on a deal allowing a developer to forgo millions in property tax payments on a proposed downtown skyscraper in exchange for an up-front disbursement for school construction.

The board of education vote was scheduled for Tuesday night, but was taken off the agenda after Cleveland Metropolitan School District officials learned of a coming meeting between the city, county and developer, according to a district news release.

“CMSD has learned that a meeting is currently being scheduled between City and County officials and Stark Enterprises to ensure all parties have a clear understanding of the funding of the complete nuCLEus project,” the release reads.

District officials have asked to be included in the meeting, according to the release.

Under the deal, developer Stark Enterprises would not pay an estimated $121 million in property taxes over 30 years. Instead, the company would give the district $18 million next year.

Stark would use the tax savings to help finance the construction of a $542 million high-rise, dubbed “nuCLEus,” just north of Quicken Loans Arena.

The proposal is unusual for tax increment financing deals, or TIFs, which usually leave the school district’s share of property tax collections intact. 

The arrangement also requires sign-off from Cleveland City Council, which has not yet scheduled a vote on the issue.

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.