CUYAHOGA FALLS — Shouts of joy, cheers and hugs erupted at the levy watch party in the Cashmere Cricket as the final numbers for Issue 6 came in, showing that the Cuyahoga Falls City School District’s levy narrowly passed by 343 votes.
The Cuyahoga Falls City Schools' first phase of its master facilities plan cleared a critical hurdle with voters approving Issue 6, a 9.83-mill tax issue.
According to the final but unofficial numbers from the Summit County Board of Elections, the levy was approved 5,484 to 5,141, or a margin of 51.61% to 48.39%.
“From the facilities planning committee, to the board of education, to the levy committee, I’ve never seen a better organized levy committee in my 32 years,” said Superintendent Todd Nichols.
The millage from Issue 6 includes:
‒ A 4-mill levy for the district’s operating budget, that would be effective for 10 years and would raise around $3.1 million a year;
‒ A 5.33-mill, 36-year bond issue that would generate about $80.6 million. The bond issue would pay for a $113.8 million in new construction. The state would pay $33.2 million of the cost; and
‒ A 0.5-mill continuing permanent improvement levy. The funds from this levy would be put in a maintenance fund for the new construction.
The issue will cost homeowners $344 per $100,000 of their home’s value each year.
The key project the district hopes to finance through the bond issue portion is a new, 370,000-square-foot school building that would house the district’s sixth through 12th graders at where Bolich Middle School and Newberry Elementary School stand now. Other projects officials with the district are eyeing include a new 5,000-seat outdoor stadium for football, track and soccer; a new 1,400-seat performing arts center, along with a separate 200-seat Black Box Theater.
Board President Karen Schofield said that “it’s a great day for us.”
“Our community has shown their Black Tiger pride,” Schofield said. “Not only has our community provided for new facilities for our sixth through 12th grade students, they have also provided operating funds to secure our financial position in the coming years ahead. We are so very grateful that the need was understood and supported. Thank you to our levy committee who worked tirelessly to get our message out to our community, the many people who worked behind the scenes enlisting support and our voters. This is your legacy.”
Board member Anthony Gomez called the vote “a great day for the students in the Cuyahoga Falls City Schools.”
“I could not be prouder of the levy committee,” Gomez said. “I’m excited for the plan to unfold.”
Board member Kathy Moffet said that she was “excited for our kids.”
“I’m so thrilled beyond words the community supported our levy,” Moffet said. “It’s such a wonderful thing to move forward.”
Committee co-chair Tim Belby said he was “filled with excitement” by the levy’s passage.
“This is a new day for Cuyahoga Falls,” he said. “Thank you to all the volunteers who made this a reality. I’m looking forward to the next chapter in the city and giving the students what they deserve.”
Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @AprilKHelms_RPC