Westlake school levy needed to avoid deeper cuts
Once again, I’m a very proud parent volunteer to be co-chairing the levy campaign for Westlake City Schools.
Westlake Schools are excellent, consistently rated in the top 5 percent of Ohio school districts. But without this levy, Issue 16, that excellence is at risk.
It has been seven years since the Westlake Board of Education placed an operating levy on the ballot. In 2006, the school board committed to making that operating levy last four years. Through diligent planning, the 2006 operating levy was stretched three extra years.
In the last two years, Westlake Schools have lost over $4.2 million in state funding and have had to make deep cuts to address those funding reductions, including cutting 17 positions. Westlake Schools are accountable and fiscally responsible. Our school district was recently recognized by the state as a top school district for sharing services in order to operate more cost-effectively.
The new teachers’ contract will save over $5.5 million by reducing salaries, increasing employee health care contributions by 50 percent and requiring additional work days. With Issue 16, our schools keep current programming without making deeper cuts, avoid making further cuts to educational necessities, maintain excellent educational opportunities to ensure our students can compete globally and avoid further cuts to transportation services.
It’s no secret that the quality of our schools affects the quality of our community and we must protect the excellent education our residents expect. We know we have a great, diversified tax base and because of the efforts by the city AND the schools, even with issue 16, Westlake Schools will remain in the bottom 20 percent of school taxes in the county.
Two information sessions will be presented at Westlake Porter Public Library, on March 26 and April 11, from 7-8 p.m. Superintendent Dr. Daniel J. Keenan and myself will make presentations and answer questions.
On May 7, please join me in voting FOR Issue 16 to protect our excellent education and our community.
– Cathy Axcell, Westlake