Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon recommended a 15 mill levy for the cash-strapped school system.

Gordon presented his plan during a special school board meeting on Wednesday. A 15 mill levy would cost the owner of a $50,000 home $4.42 a week or 63 cents a day. It would bring in an estimated $50 million to $60 million a year, for four years.

“We cannot continue to cut our way out of this problem and after 16 years with no new operating levy and with deep cuts in state and federal funding and more projected to come, a new levy is absolutely needed in our community now,” Gordon said.

Based on Gordon’s recommendation, the school board voted to seek the 15 mills and will vote on July 31 to place the levy on the November ballot.

If passed, 14 of the 15 mills will go to CMSD and 1 mill will go to area charter schools.

“I think that when you ask the public for public dollars, it should go to public institutions,” resident Rhonda Hills said about the portion pledged to charter schools.

However, if the levy fails, the district will experience a $50 million deficit next year, forcing them to cut another 700 to 800 teachers and staff, Gordon said. The school system would also go into fiscal oversight and could be taken over by the state, which would run it at minimum standards.

“This levy will help bring many critical and necessary resources right where they belong in the classroom and directly benefit students,” said Tracy Radich with the Cleveland Teachers Union.

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