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North Ridgeville substitute school levy passes on second try

North Ridgeville City Schools personnel are breathing a sigh of relief due to the passage of a substitute school levy -- Issue 13 -- on April 28. The levy was rejected last November by just over 100 votes.

On the second attempt, the levy passed by 983 votes according to the final, unofficial tally by the Lorain County Board of Elections. Final numbers were 4,075 for the levy and 3,092 against.

After the November failure, schools Superintendent Roxann Ramsey-Caserio held public “listening sessions” to find out why the levy was defeated. She said the consensus was that the levy did not have a “sunset clause” and would be an ongoing tax.

When the levy was put back on the spring 2020 ballot, it was changed to a definite term.

“I believe the change from a continuing issue to a fixed, 10-year term has been well received …and the voters understand the levy better now,” Ramsey-Caserio said during the listening sessions.

The levy is for 11.72 mills and combines four previous emergency levies that greatly impact the district’s local operating funds, which total about $10.6 million annually.

It does not change the current tax rate of about $359 a year for the owner of a home valued at $100,000.

In addition, residents will not have to vote again for the earlier levies as they expire -- two in 2020, and one each in 2022 and 2023.

Ramsey-Caserio expressed her relief when the issue passed.

“I was elated and relieved to see the results at the end of the night,” she said. “The passage of Issue 13 helps the North Ridgeville City Schools preserve the academics, programs and educators our students need for success at the next level. I also felt proud of our community for coming together during this uncertain time to support our schools.”

She also commented on what she believes was another reason the levy passed.

“During this trying time in our community, we are extremely grateful for (residents’) support and commitment to keeping our schools strong and stable. I believe the reason why Issue 13 was successful, even during this unprecedented time, is that the city of North Ridgeville understands the importance of students receiving a quality education and how it plays a vital role in our students’ and the community’s future.”

What the levy means to the school system, she said, is “even though it was not a (new) tax issue, passing Issue 13 ensures we can provide quality education and resources that our growing student population needs for success, whether it be learning in our buildings or at home.”

“I want to thank the entire community of North Ridgeville for their ongoing support of our schools," she said.

"This victory would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our campaign volunteers. Parents, Board of Education members, staff members, students, residents, community leaders, campaign donors and endorsers all played a big part in reaching out to voters to ensure they were informed about the importance of this issue and were educated on how to cast their vote by mail. We are appreciative of their time and efforts throughout this extended campaign.”

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