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Cleveland: Volunteers propel school levy push

5:48 PM, Oct 8, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- The push to promote Cleveland's school levy -- Issue 107 on the ballots -- is very much a "high-touch," not a high-tech campaign.

And a big part of the campaign involves volunteers taking the message door-to-door, trying to win the day one vote and one voter at a time.

Belinda Wimberly-Jones was a among a group of volunteers spending Monday canvassing in the voter-rich Lee Harvard neighborhood.

"I think this is what is pushing it. More and more people are going face-to-face, knocking on doors, telling more people about it," she said.

Her children and grandchildren attend or attended Cleveland public schools.

In all, about 60 volunteers are working on the campaign. Some are donating 25 to 30 hours a week.

The campaign is more dependent on house-to-house grassroots campaigning than broadcast political ads.

"People are tired of ads. People get more face-to-face from someone they feel is a part of it," said volunteer Kelly Beckles.

Some volunteers don't even in live in Cleveland.

Sugar Rae Dykes, who lives in Shaker Heights, puts her motives simply.

"Bascially, it's for the kids," she claims.

She says people she encounters are telling her they are in favor of sacrificing 63 cents a day, estimated to be the levy's average cost to homeonwers to improve schools.

Volunteer Chuck Willis and his four children went to Cleveland schools.

"They did a great job...but now they could be better," he said.

Beckles said, "The school system is an anchor. We improve schools and we improve everything in Cleveland."

Campaign Chairman Blaine Griffin said, "All of these folks believe in young people and believe in the future of Cleveland."

The campaign has other paid workers.

But volunteers believe their determination and commitment can make a difference.

Wimberly-Jones said, "We cover a lot of ground. We are out there in droves. That's what is going to get this issue passed."


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