By Lyndsey Creecy
Northwest Local School District
The Northwest Local School District (NWLSD) has a levy on the upcoming November ballot. NWLSD’s Board of Education approved the 7.5 mill emergency levy for operations at the end of June. The passage of the levy would generate approximately $11 million for the District.
The school district currently has an $8 million deficit and has not raised taxes since 2007, despite the increase in expenses over the last 12 years. While NWLSD has not increased the amount of operating tax dollars, they have had levies on the ballot in the past. In 2012 and 2017, the district renewed a levy to continue receiving the fund that were voted on back in 2007. Over the last 15 years the district has lost over $11 million annually due to reductions in state funding. Increased expenses coupled with state funding reductions has left the district in need.
“We have done everything that we can over the last 12 years to keep from having to raise the tax dollars of our community, but now is the time. We need our community to support us, but most importantly we need our community to support our students,” said Amy M. Wells, NWLSD chief financial officer.
While the district leadership remains positive that the levy will pass in November, they are aware that a failing levy would have a devastating impact on the level of education that their students would receive.
“Our job is to prepare our students for their next steps in life. We do that by providing them with the academic programs and services that will prepare them for their tomorrow,” said Wells. “Passing the levy would keep current staffing in place and would allow the district to provide course offerings beyond the basic education requirements. Our students are tomorrow’s leaders; education is essential to their success.”
Failure to pass the levy would cause the district to make over $8 million in reductions above basic education, creating negative impacts on curricular offerings, class sizes and athletic programs. Students currently have access to a variety of rigorous course offerings such as gifted, advanced placement and college credit plus courses. They are also afforded the opportunity to have access to counselors, dean of students and nurses in their buildings. Passage of the levy will allow the district to continue offering these services and classes. A failing levy would not only eliminate the funding for these programs and services, but would also possibly bring the elimination of art, music and physical education.
“Passing the levy will allow us to not only maintain what we have, but keep improving. We’re investing in our kids who are the future of our community. A failed levy would cause us to move backward in a painful way. Key programs and services would be cut that directly affect our kids and families.” Tim Gehner, co-chair of Community Partners for Education (CPE).