TALLMADGE - The school board and administration says they "will determine next steps and communicate those to the community" with the loss of its operating levy in Tuesday’s election.
Voters rejected Issue 4, the 5-year, 7.4-mill levy for the schools, according to final but unofficial results from the Summit County Board of Elections: 54.96 percent, or 4,539 votes, were cast against the levy, and 45.04 percent, or 3,720 votes, were cast in favor.
There was one precinct in Portage County located in the Tallmadge City School district. According to the final, unofficial results posted by the Portage County Board of Elections, 54.23 percent, or 77 votes, were cast against the levy, and 45.77 percent, or 65 votes, were cast for.
The proposed levy would have generated a little more than $3.1 million a year and cost the owner of a $100,000 home an extra $259 per year.
"Thank you to everyone who supported the levy and our schools, especially those who spent so much time communicating its importance," said Superintendent Jeff Ferguson. "Sadly, this is not the outcome we wanted for our schools. Despite this setback, our district will continue to provide the best possible education for our children."
The district has additional opportunities to place the issue back on the ballot, which will be needed to maintain financial stability, according to the district.
If new money isn’t generated for the Tallmadge schools, the district would find itself $936,378 in the red by fiscal year 2020, according to information provided Treasurer Jeff Hostetler.
The fall five-year forecast, posted on the Ohio Department of Education’s website, shows the district will have a negative ending cash balance at a little more than $1.5 million in 2021.
"The Tallmadge City School District is committed to fiscal responsibility," Ferguson said. "We were able to stretch the last operating levy nine year. If not for the loss in funding, we would have been able to stretch it even further. It is critical that the district generates new operating dollars in 2019 or we will experience devastating cuts to our district."
With the passage of the levy, the district would have been able to hire an additional school resource officer. Additionally, the district would not have been back on the ballot, not even for a renewal, until 2023.
"We are grateful for those in the community who supported this effort," Ferguson said. "We continue our practice of fiscal responsibility, being open and transparent with the taxpayers on how their money is being spent as we work hard to provide students the best education we can with the resources we have available. The Board of Education will now decide next steps for our district."
The Board of Education’s next scheduled meeting is Nov. 28 at 6 p.m. (changed from Nov. 21).
Mayor David G. Kline said he was "sorry to hear that" the levy failed.
"I know people are strapped financially and are voting from their wallets and I totally understand that," Kline said. "Unfortunately, I’m sure the school will come back (to the voters). I think they (the school officials) were honest with us and they need the money and I will continue to support the schools the next time they’re on the ballot."
Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, email@example.com, or @AprilKHelms_RPC