CUYAHOGA FALLS — The Woodridge school district is again taking steps to place a levy before voters, with officials saying they hope voters will finally see the district’s need for increased funding.

The school board voted 4-0 to ask the Summit County Fiscal Office to certify the tax valuation of the district and calculate the number of mills required to generate $4 million for the Woodridge schools. This is the first of two steps needed to place the five-year operating levy on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Board member Marilyn Hansen was not at the meeting.

Treasurer Tom Morehouse said the exact millage will not be known until the Summit County Fiscal Office calculates it. When Woodridge went to the ballot this past spring for the same amount, the millage was 8.19. The spring levy attempt lost by only 70 votes. The levy would have cost homeowners around $286 annually per $100,000 of their property value. The district last passed an operating levy in 2012.

"This levy request is critical for the district," said Superintendent Walter Davis. "The clock is ticking. Without additional revenues, the Board will be forced to implement drastic programmatic reductions that will severely impact our ability to provide the excellent educational options out students deserve. The community can expect a very active and information packed campaign as we prepare for the election in November."

The next step for the board is to pass legislation requesting the Summit County Board of Elections place the issue on the ballot. The deadline to do this is early August.

The school board attempted to pass a levy during the Nov. 7, 2017, general election for the same amount. This attempt failed by 639 votes. In 2018, before the May primary, the district cut $1.2 million from its budget by eliminating 12 positions and approving a one-year pay freeze for staff and administrators.

However, according to information from the district’s five-year forecast, the district is still projected to have a $687,983 deficit by fiscal year 2019, and will be nearly $5.6 million in the red by fiscal year 2020 without added revenue or budget cuts.

Morehouse said in an earlier interview that the impact of approving an operating levy would be lessened by the expiration of a 1994 bond issue to build the middle school. The tax expires this year, meaning property owners will see a reduction of around $102 per $100,000 of their home’s value.

The next regular school board meeting is July 17 at 6 p.m.

Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, ahelms@recordpub.com, or ??@AprilKHelms_RPC??