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Cleveland Metropolitan School District levy, issue 68, passes

The levy will be used to cover the district’s operating budget for 10 years.

CLEVELAND — Issue 68, the levy for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, has passed.

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The levy, which is a 15-mill renewal and a 5-mill increase, will be used to cover the district’s operating budget for 10 years.

Eric Gordon, the CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, released the following "thank you" letter to the community at 8:45 a.m. Wednesday:

To Families & Caregivers of CMSD Students:

I am pleased to express my gratitude this morning to the residents of Cleveland for their support of Issue 68.

Your renewed investment in the children of Cleveland comes at a critical time for the district and makes it possible to continue the progress we have made together.

It is worth noting that the community’s decision to renew its support of Cleveland’s public schools came at a time when an anonymous opposition group worked hard to convince voters that your continued investment in Cleveland’s kids was not worth it. I am heartened to see that Cleveland voters responded, saying unequivocally, “Yes-- the children of Cleveland are worth our continued support.

With your vision of Cleveland’s future, CMSD has an opportunity to build on our record graduation rates, increased math and reading scores, expanded access to preschool and our most recent efforts to ensure families in the worst connected city in the nation have digital devices and access to high speed internet.

Above all, passage of Issue 68 signals the strength, resilience and vision of a community known for your unwavering belief in the children of Cleveland and its commitment to their future.

Passage of Issue 68, which is the third renewal of our 2012 levy and a small increase in your investment, is a critical reminder every day of your continued trust, and of our responsibility to continue to deliver a return on your investment in Cleveland’s public schools.

The district released the following statement Tuesday night:

We are grateful to the voters of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, who even in these difficult times continue to support children by approving operating levies that help maintain and improve their learning experience and prepare them for the future. With the approval of an existing levy and a 5-mill increase, we will be able to build on our efforts to guarantee a quality education for all our students.

“A non-renewal of the levy would slash spending by $66 million, close 25 schools, reduce counseling, mental health and social supports and halt crucial digital supports,” organizers said in a press release a few weeks before the election. “It is being opposed by a shadowy group of GOP-linked operatives, who have refused to reveal their identity and blanketed the city with misleading anti-schools literature.”

During his state of the schools address earlier this year, Gordon explained why the district needed Issue 68 to pass.

“We have nowhere else to cut but kids and classrooms," he said. "We will have no choice but to layoff teachers and other educators from every layer of the organization. We will have to cut programming like we did way back 10 years ago we will have to face more school closures."

National Teachers Union President Randi Weingarten joined the movement pushing for the levy’s support last month. She spoke at a rally in favor of the levy last month alongside Cleveland school CEO Eric Gordon.

"All they're asking for is to continue that levy and add a little bit more," Weingarten said. "No more than $7 a month for most households in this city to continue the progress."

For more election results follow our live blog and results tracker.

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