VOTING BY MAIL HAS BEEN EXTENDED!
For those of you who have already early voted, your vote will indeed count. If you have not yet cast a ballot, you will be able to vote by mail until April 28. This means there will not be an in-person Election Day, but instead voters can request a vote by mail ballot to be sent to their homes. We highly recommend requesting your ballot very soon to allow the Board of Elections enough time to receive the application, mail out your ballot to you, and give you time to receive the ballot and return it to the Board of Elections in time for your vote to be counted. For additional information, visit Cuyahoga County Board of Elections: https://boe.cuyahogacounty.us
Board OKs March 2020 Levy Issue (11/10/19)
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. How do I vote by mail?
1. Call the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections (216-443-8683) to request a Vote-by-Mail Application be mailed to your home
Click this link to access a Vote-By-Mail Application and print it out: https://boe.cuyahogacounty.us/en-US/VoteByMail.aspx. Click ‘March 17, 2020 - Extended’ when prompted to select an election. Fill out the application completely. Please note that voters must select one of the following types of ballots when asked on the application: Democratic, Republican, Other, or Nonpartisan/Issues Only.
2. Complete the application and mail it to: Board of Elections PO Box 89448 Cleveland, OH 44101-6448
3. Once the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections receives your application, they will mail you a ballot. Check your mailbox!
4. When you receive your ballot, please fill it out completely, and mail it back in the enclosed envelope. Your ballot must be postmarked by April 27.
5. You can check the status of your ballot here: https://boe.cuyahogacounty.us/en-US/track-my-ballot.aspx
2. What is on the ballot for the Lakewood City Schools?
Lakewood City Schools Board of Education voted unanimously to place a 3.9 mill levy and 1.0 mill permanent improvement (PI) levy on the ballot. The funds from this levy would help keep Lakewood City Schools strong and would go toward:
- Providing mental health services for elementary students;
- Retaining and recruiting high-quality teachers by paying them competitive salaries
- Adding STEM offerings to prepare students for their futures;
- Keeping educational technology and other learning materials up-to-date;
- Expanding career and technical educational opportunities for middle and high school students;
- Expanding early childhood programs for our community’s youngest learners; and
- Protecting our community’s investment by keeping all of our buildings, athletic fields, vehicles, and other assets in good condition.
3. How much will this levy cost a Lakewood taxpayer?
The levy would cost a Lakewood taxpayer less than $2 per month more than they currently pay, based on a property valuation of $100,000.
4. How can a 4.9 mill levy only cost a Lakewood taxpayer less than $2 more per month per $100,000 property value?
Due to responsible refinancing, sound financial practices, and property value growth, 4.9 mills of the District’s current debt service millage will be reduced. With the reduction in millage, a Lakewood taxpayer would not see an increase in their tax rate, and would only see a small increase in taxes.
5. Why does the District need a levy now?
Due to inconsistent and declining State funds, and the increasing costs of operating our schools – like healthcare and utilities – the District will start deficit spending in 2020, which means our expenditures will outpace our revenues. As good fiscal stewards, we must always be looking ahead, proactively monitoring our funding sources, and ensuring our District remains strong while continuing to provide the educational excellence that residents expect.
To read our five-year forecast, click here.
See Treasurer Kent Zeman's presentation to Board below:
6. Is this levy for a continuing period of time?
Yes. This issue will be for a continuing period of time to ensure a steady, stable funding stream to allow our District to provide high-quality education.
7. Is Lakewood City Schools fiscally responsible?
Yes. The District stretched its last operating levy for six years with staffing and operational efficiencies, reductions in long-term costs, and saving millions in future debt service costs through responsible refinancing. But with the District starting to deficit spend in 2020, the Board of Education must look ahead to ensure our District remains stable and continues to provide the educational excellence that residents expect.
8. With Lakewood’s property values increasing, has the District received more money from its past levies?
Unfortunately, no. Due to House Bill 920 passed by the Ohio General Assembly in 1976, the District does not benefit from the inflationary growth of its tax base. Even when property values increase while a levy is in effect, the amount of the taxes collected does not increase.
Read more about House Bill 920 here.
9. What is the difference between an operating levy and permanent improvement levy, and why do we need both?
Money from an operating levy is used for the operation of the school district, including supplies and equipment, essential school programs, teaching staff and services. A permanent improvement levy goes toward any asset with a useful life of five years or more, as determined by the District treasurer, such as technology, equipment, buildings, fields, and vehicles. The Ohio Revised Code states that each type of funding be used for the corresponding purpose.
10. What happens if this levy doesn’t pass?
Without this funding, the administration and Board of Education would have to make some difficult decisions in regards to its resources and next steps. The District will start deficit spending in 2020, so it is imperative that leaders work to ensure the District remains strong and continues to provide the educational excellence that residents expect.