The Strongsville City Schools Renewal Levy On The Ballot Again On March 19,2024
Read Our Report on Issue 25
Better Ohio PAC is a group of Strongsville parents and concerned citizens who believe in supporting our city schools and ensuring that our children receive the education they need to succeed in life. We have earnest concerns regarding Issue 25, the school tax levy set to be decided on March 19, 2024. While our commitment lies in promoting excellence in education for our children, we are equally committed to safeguarding the resources of hardworking taxpayers like yourselves.
This past November, Strongsville Voters voted down a $9.8 million renewal levy. This was likely due to the Voters’ evaluation that the schools were already achieving excellence while operating with excessive budget surpluses. It is disheartening that the school board, instead of respecting the will of the voters, persisted in placing the identical previously failed levy on the upcoming ballot this March. What is more odious is that you will discover that subsequent research, bolstered by public records obtained from the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer, uncovered a startling revelation that we detail below.
Strongsville Schools had a $9 million surplus last year and have $71 million in the bank
In September of 2023, we brought to your attention the substantial cash reserves of $71 million accumulated by our school district including a $9 million surplus last year alone. This amount compared to our annual $78 million budget is staggering and unparalleled by any comparable district in Northern Ohio. This excessive surplus clearly called into question the need to renew the full $9.8 million levy.
The Strongsville City Schools are maintaining the largest cash reserve of any comparable district in Northern Ohio
Strongsville Voters spoke clearly when they decisively defeated the levy in November 2023
In the spring of 2023, the Better Ohio PAC School Finances Committee advised the school board to reconsider the full $9.8 million levy and instead opt for a levy producing half the amount. Regrettably, they disregarded our concerns and pursued the full $9.8 million levy, which the voters decisively rejected in November of last year. It is disheartening that the school board, instead of respecting the will of the voters, persisted in placing the identical failed $9.8 million levy on the upcoming ballot.
The School Board has ignored the will of the voters and has put the same previously failed levy back on the ballot for March 19th, 2024
In 2018, the school board initially proposed a $11.3 million permanent levy, citing potential deficits and insolvency. However, voters expressed concerns and defeated that levy in November of 2018. This led to the school board changing course and offering a revised $9.8 million levy in May of 2019. The voters of Strongsville decisively passed that levy. It is significant to note that when promoting that levy in 2019, the School Board projected a $27.0 million cash reserve in 2023*** (see Quick Facts page). This projection was off by a staggering $44 million causing the cash balance to balloon to $71 million in 2023.
In 2018, the school board heard the voter’s message when the voters defeated the $11.3M permanent levy and REDUCED that levy to the current $9.8M levy.
What is truly shocking, revealed through public records obtained from the County Fiscal Officer, is that in the FIRST FOUR YEARS of this levy's collection, a staggering $37.3 million was collected from hardworking taxpayers, yet not a single dollar was allocated toward our students. Theentire $37.3 million was put in the bank only to amass our unnecessary $71 million cash reserve. This irrefutable evidence demonstrates that the district was able to achieve academic excellence without utilizing any of the proposed levy's proceeds.
Therefore, we implore the Voters of Strongsville to Vote NO on Issue 25 and send a clear message to the school board: reduce the levy by half, and we will wholeheartedly support it come November. It is imperative to hold our elected officials accountable and ensure fiscal responsibility while prioritizing the educational needs of our children. Together, let us stand firm in our commitment to excellence in education and prudent stewardship of taxpayer resources.
We have compiled several pages of summary data on The Strongsville Schools' finances for your review.
Projections were extrapolated by Better Ohio PAC and are based on real historical averages
The schools have presented the 5-year forecast to help get this levy and previous levies passed. However, after reviewing the forecasts for each of the last eleven years it is very clear that they are extremely inaccurate. Each year of the forecast sees a bigger and bigger gap between what is projected and what the schools actually close the books with. See chart below.