NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio — Dr. Mike Zalar, superintendent of North Olmsted City schools says after losing $22 million dollars of state and federal funding over the last 10 to 15 years-- coupled with rising costs to provide students an education-- having the levy fail was disappointing.
“The last thing we ever want to do is to come back and have to ask our community to pay more to maintain the same level of programming and services. But this is the way schools are funded in the state of Ohio,” says Dr. Zalar.
North Olmsted was just one of eleven school districts in Northeast Ohio to experience a failed school levy during the May 4 election. Parma, Rocky River and Kenston are all dealing with failed levies, as well.
Kenston Local Schools sent a statement out to families following the news of the levy's failure, writing, "the levy failure is disappointing, we understand that during these uncertain times, people are left with making difficult decisions for themselves and for their families and we respect them for it.”
Uncertain times fueled by the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing job losses.
“What I would ask is for those that are not in that situation, that have not lost a job, that have been able to weather the storm to the best extent possible...We need their support,” says Dr. Zalar.
The school boards with failed levies will have to meet to decide the next steps and whether or not to put a levy on the November ballot.
“We can only stretch so far and there comes a time when either we need additional revenue or we have to cut our expenses dramatically. That is going to have very negative consequences for students in the classroom,” says Dr. Zalar.
"In the upcoming weeks, the Board of Education and Administration will meet to discuss the current financial picture and discuss the options for moving forward," says Kenston Local Schools' Superintendent Nancy Santilli. "We would like to thank all those who supported Issue 3 and extend our sincere appreciation to the countless individuals who gave their time, passion and dedication to the levy campaign."
School leaders 3News spoke with say the ultimate goal is to be able to provide the absolute best education and extracurricular opportunities for students and that they appreciate the locals who voted for the levies.