At the Cleveland Foundation, education has been a grantmaking priority throughout our 106-year history because we understand the vital role that it plays in determining an individual’s and community’s current and future well-being.
Over the past 30 years, the foundation has awarded more than $263 million in grants to support quality and access across the education continuum – early childhood, K-12 and postsecondary education. Together with partners across the community we have supported game-changing initiatives like the Cleveland Plan for Transforming Schools and – more recently – Say Yes to Education Cleveland. These investments are making a difference. The Cleveland Metropolitan School District graduated 80% of its students in the class of 2019, an increase of 27.9 percentage points from 10 years ago. Postsecondary enrollment and retention rates for CMSD grads are also up, showing that students are better prepared to successfully continue their education after high school.
A vital school levy
Now, with a critical school levy set to expire at the end of the year, the future of public education in Cleveland hinges on the passage of Issue 68 on the November ballot. If passed, Issue 68 will add less than $7 a month in taxes for the median Cleveland home value. But if the levy fails, Cleveland kids will lose $66 million per year. The exciting progress made in recent years will be undermined as the CMSD will be forced to make devastating cuts to staff, programs and technology at a time when our students need them most.
Why is the levy needed?
State funding as well as local property taxes that support public education have remained relatively flat, while rising inflation rates have cut into the value of each dollar received by the district. Meanwhile, costs associated with COVID-19 have caused even more financial need and uncertainty. If the levy fails, the CMSD would face an immediate deficit of $30.5 million in the current school year, cutting 12% of the district’s operating budget and forcing additional school closures, significant program cuts and employee layoffs.
What will the levy pay for?
The levy will pay for a range of important resources and supports for Cleveland students. Funding from the levy will allow the district to:
- preserve and update quality programs;
- continue improvement of test scores and graduation rates;
- keep good teachers and maintain reasonable class sizes;
- add and maintain 1:1 technology and interconnectivity for students; and
- prepare all students for success in college and careers.
A vote FOR Issue 68 will help our students and our community realize a brighter, more prosperous future. Learn more – including how you can support the levy campaign – at https://www.keepclekidsmovingahead.com/.