The Winton Woods City Schools (WWCS) Board of Education has placed an operational levy on the ballot for the election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. The levy would generate $3.2 million annually for operating expenses related to educational programs. This is the first Winton Woods levy placed on the ballot in over 10 years that requests additional funding. “This levy will fund instructional services, ongoing educational and extracurricular opportunities for all students,” said Superintendent Anthony G. Smith. “In addition, it will provide funding for key identified areas of need including the Preschool Village, increased enrollment and additional school resource officers. We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to restore busing for high school students in the district beginning August 2021.”
What is an operational levy? This type of levy funds essential day-to-day operational expenses such as quality staff, utilities, and classroom supplies and equipment. In 2016, the district had a bond that passed and funded the new school buildings. “Proceeds of a bond issue cannot be used for operational costs of the new facilities. This is often a source of misunderstanding. Winton Woods City School District has not had an increase in operating levies since 2009, which equates to twelve years,” said District Treasurer Randy Seymour. “The levy to the homeowner is $243.25 per $100,000 market value per year.”
Why does the district need an operating levy? Beginning in the 2016-17 school year, the district began to offer an all-day preschool option, as well as morning and afternoon classes. The transition from half to full day services increased enrollment greatly. “The levy proposal will support our children, parents, and community by providing funds to expand the Preschool Village,” said Dr. John Cuppoletti, WWCS board member. “This will allow our children to get a head start academically and socially. The district created an all day school option, so that parents can work while the children are in a safe learning environment. The care for the children will be covered by the levy, and will help families avoid the cost of child care for their preschoolers.”
With the two new innovative campuses scheduled to open in the Spring and Fall of 2021, the district’s top priority is safety. “Winton Woods City Schools is dedicated to keeping our students and staff safe,” said Executive Director of Business Affairs Steve Denny. “We currently do not have enough highly trained school resource officers. We need a total of four school resource officers to support our two campuses. The levy proposal will enable the four resource officers to keep our children safe on our two new campuses. These officers will be there if and when the students and staff need them. There are no substitutes for highly trained school resource officers or other funds to support this important safety initiative.”
“Our school district is growing in part because of the level of excellence in many areas such as academics, music, athletics, and our outstanding services for students with special needs. For the 2019-2020 school year, we increased enrollment by five percent. We anticipate continued growth especially as we open our two new campuses.”
In the last four years, more students have become interested in the Winton Woods educational experience due to our quality academic programs. “We have grown as a district and need to expand our system to make room for additional students,” said WWCS board member Gino McGowens. “This levy will help accommodate the increase in the student population that is over 4,000 students and continue its essential educational services for our communities.”
Where do campaign funds come from? The district cannot spend any tax money on a campaign to encourage residents to vote for this levy. However, a group of parents and citizens have formed a committee to generate support for the levy.