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Voters show confidence in CMSD

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Cleveland voters support the direction the Cleveland Metropolitan School District is heading, as shown by their 67.8 percent approval of Issue 108 on Tuesday. Renewal of the 15-mill levy gives CMSD another four years to continue progress evident under The Cleveland Plan.

The levy was initially passed in 2012. It was the first time in 16 years that voters had provided the schools with additional money for operating expenses.

Mayor Frank G. Jackson and District Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon told voters then that they could decide in four years whether the schools had achieved enough progress to earn their continued support. Since then, student attendance and enrollment have increased, scores on the Nation’s Report Card have improved and CMSD’s graduation rate has increased 17 percentage points to a record high.

"I am proud of the work we have accomplished over the last four years," Gordon said. “And I’m grateful that the community has recognized the improvements and given us another four years to accelerate these gains.”

The revenue provided by Issue 108 is critical to carrying out reforms charted by Cleveland's Plan for Transforming Schools, better known as The Cleveland Plan. The 15-mill renewal will generate up to $69.7 million a year, or 10 percent of the District’s operating budget, without raising taxes. CMSD shares 1 mill, or about $4.6 million, with charter school partners.

CMSD’s enrollment has been rising after decades of decline. Surveys showed that as many as 75 percent of citizens surveyed believe CMSD is improving and rate their public schools as fair or better. Once on the verge of insolvency, the District is now on a long run of financial stability.

“Public trust is growing,” said Gordon.

A large “Thank You, Cleveland” banner was posted on the District’s website. At the same time, the countdown clock that, for four years, counted down the minutes remaining on the community’s investment through the levy, was reset for another four years.