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National Teachers Union President joins push for Cleveland school levy support

Issue 68 is a 15-mill renewal levy with a 5-mill increase.
Credit: 3News

CLEVELAND — National Teachers Union President Randi Weingarten has joined the movement to gain support for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s levy, which is known as Issue 68 on the upcoming November ballot.

The American Federation of Teachers and the Cleveland Teachers Union also joined CMSD CEO Eric Gordon at the Tuesday press conference “to lay out the huge stakes on Issue 68 as election day draws closer.”

"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."

The participants gathered to send the message that in the middle of the COVID crisis, we need to continue to fund Cleveland's future by improving education and opportunity for kids, organizers said.

We streamed the entire press conference, which you can watch in full below:

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.

“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. “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 needs 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."