Rocky River had been a bastion of support for school operating levies. The district’s decades-long record of levy passage came to an end March 6 and so the question is, what now?
In Rocky River, the answer is fairly immediate and obvious as administrators look to cut $1.5 million from their budget, $4.5 million over the next two years. There is a lingering question, that permeates every district in the state, one that has Rocky River school officials in up to their knees: What does the public expect of its school district?
Even answering that leaves one more question. How do those expectations conform to the demands placed on districts statewide by legislators in Columbus?
River schools are a jewel among jewels on Cleveland’s west side and true to that form, Superintendent Michael Schoaf will go out to the community seeking to know why the levy failed. Our best advice is that there may be no way to use that information to keep the status quo. Residents’ expectations and tolerances might, simply, be in a position they cannot be brought into alignment with the district’s.
That doesn’t make the conversation less necessary. In fact, if the two sides are going to reach a mutual understanding, the conversation becomes even more paramount.
To foster that discussion, West Life will use the hashtag #ohioschoolfunding on twitter to see if more voices can be brought to bear, and join us online Thursday at noon via our facebook page for a live chat. You’re the public. You fund these schools. What are your expectations?