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Career center hopes to renew 1-mill levy Nov. 8

by Eric Marotta | Editor Published: October 12, 2016 12:00 AM
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Voters in 26 communities comprising eight school districts that send students to the Cuyahoga County Career Center will vote Nov. 8 to renew the career center's 1-mill operating levy for a continuous period of time.

Summit County Issue 47 for voters in the Nordonia Hills and Twinsburg city school districts would renew a five-year levy voters have been renewing since 1982.

If the measure is approved, homeowners would continue to pay about $30 for every $100,000 of their home's value, which will raise $5.7 million per year for salaries, operating costs for programs, equipment, technology and other expenses. The $5.7 million is around 40 percent of the career center's funding.

The remainder of the career center's more than $14 million in annual revenue is generated via a second 1-mill, continuing levy, along with miscellaneous state and federal education funding, said CVCC executive director Dave Mangas.

"We work very hard to keep our expenses down," Mangas said, adding Cuyahoga Valley Career Center is fiscally responsible in that "we work to keep spending in our budget. Local tax dollars are our primary source of revenue and the Nov. 8 renewal levy is essential to our program offerings.

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"A strong local economy and job growth requires strong educational training centers such as CVCC," he added.

Established in 1972 in Brecksville, the career center has its own school district and is governed by a board of education whose members are appointed by the school boards of member districts including Nordonia Hills and Twinsburg.

A majority of voters across all eight school districts is needed to pass the renewal, said CVCC Board President Mark Curtis, a member of the Twinsburg Board of Education. The career center serves about 100 Twinsburg students.

Curtis said the decision to seek the renewal levy for a continuous period of time is the result of it having been renewed so many times by voters in the past.

He said that in the future, the board does not want to be seen as competing with local tax issues.

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"In light of what is happening in each of our own individual communities, we want to be very cognizant of levy fatigue," he said. "There might be some perception of us competing for local dollars, and this is something that has been continuously renewed for a long time."

He said the Board of Education would have to look at programs if the renewal fails, taking into account those that may not have high enough enrollments to justify their costs, among other measures such as cutbacks in staff.

"We hope we don't have to go down that road," he said.

Jim Virost, Nordonia Hills' representative on the CVCC Board of Education, said the Board expects the renewal will be approved.

"This levy was originally passed in 1982 and there were six subsequent renewals after that," he said.

"Right now, Nordonia has 122 students at the career center out of an enrollment of 890," Virost added. "It will continue to provide services in these eight districts, along with career opportunities ... we are not a trade school -- this is an alternative."

He noted adult education is also an important part of the career center's services.

"It provides the community a variety of opportunities for educational services," he said. "It's been 1 mill since 1982 and we do not see a need to increase it in the future."

Eric Marotta: 330-541-9433

emarotta@recordpub.com

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