June 25, 2016

Mostly sunny

Medina Schools seeks input on levy failure

MEDINA — Medina City Schools officials want to know why voters earlier this month rejected the district’s proposed 3.9-mill levy before returning to the ballot with a new tax.

Superintendent Randy Stepp said that over the next couple of months, school officials will hold a series of community meetings to get feedback from the public.

“After that, the board will make a decision about what they will do about placing another levy on the ballot,” he said.

The 3.9-mill, 10-year issue failed Nov. 6 by 953 votes, with 11,519 voting against it and 10,566 people voting for the tax issue, according to final unofficial results from the Medina County Board of Elections.

The levy had been expected to bring in $4.6 million each year and would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home about an additional $123 a year.

School board President Bill Grenfell said meetings would be held beginning in January.

“We’ve got to start considering what cuts we have to make,” he said. “We’re going to have some community meetings, get some feedback.”

So far, Grenfell said the board has not identified what might be cut from the budget. The levy had been designed to replace funding cuts from the state.

Most of the money from levy that failed this month would have been used to maintain services, but about a quarter would have been used to bring back reading and math intervention specialists.

Grenfell said officials had been hopeful the levy would pass but not surprised it didn’t, pointing out that the district has failed to pass levies for the past four years.

“There’s a lot of anti-tax sentiment out there,” Grenfell said.
Voters look to the state government to solve the problem of school funding, he added.

“Unfortunately the state doesn’t have the financial ability to do that,” he said. “The problem is ours to solve on the local level.”

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.