nonprofit groups, La Prensa back TPS levy, others on
By Kevin Milliken for La Prensa
The Toledo Public Schools levy campaign is picking up steam, as the
school district picks up endorsements from community groups.
At a press conference Fri. Sept. 28, 2012, TPS received the
endorsements of three community partners—from the boards of the
United Way of Greater Toledo, the YMCA/JCC
of Greater Toledo, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Toledo. The administrative
leaders of those three agencies pledged their support at United
Way headquarters downtown.
The board of the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce also
voted to endorse Issue 20 earlier the same week. La Prensa
Newspaper has also endorsed the TPS levy.
TPS is asking voters to approve a 4.9-mill, ten-year operating levy
on the November 6 ballot. The millage is a reduction from a
previously-announced 6.9-mill permanent levy, as the district
discovered some cost savings related to its transformation plan,
particularly the conversion to K-8 elementary schools. The new
version of the levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home
about $150 more per year and would generate
$13.3 million annually.
TPS Superintendent Dr. Jerome Pecko and three school board
members attended the levy endorsement announcement. Several TPS
counselors and principals also interrupted a
previously-scheduled meeting they were attending at the United
Way over Americorps graduation coaches to witness the public
show of support.
“This is not a reactionary, nor is it a guaranteed statement or
position,” said Jane Moore, interim United Way
president/CEO. “But it’s one that took careful consideration,
research, inquiry, and commitment. In order to move our
community forward, our children and our families have to be
United Way board member and public policy advisory committee
chairman Larry Friedman noted TPS officials have made
“excellent progress” in the past few years—cutting the
district’s budget by about $100 million, or 25 percent. He also
called TPS “more open and transparent” than in the past. He
cited the district’s transformation plan, saying “it is working,
but it will take time.”
YMCA president & CEO, noted a number of community partnerships
the YMCA has engaged with TPS—including before and after-school
child care, 72,000 free summer meals at school sites this past
summer, and mentoring/tutoring programs.
“I have had nothing but incredible receptivity and partnership
from Toledo Public Schools, with the common mission and common
theme to reach out and serve the needs of the children and the
families in our community,” he said.
Three of the four service sites for the Boys and Girls Clubs are
located within TPS elementary schools, including the newest one
in the Old South End.
“The education of our
children is essential to not only their futures, but the future
of our community,” said Dave Wehrmeister, executive
director of the Boys and Girls Clubs. “It is up to us to step in
and invest in our children’s success.”
“We could not be where we
are today without the support of these community agencies,” said
Dr. Pecko, noting the meeting involving strategies for
graduation coaches within the schools. “That initiative is one
really focused on trying to improve the graduation rate of our
students and it is having an impact.”
Public endorsements may
help TPS rise to the top of seven property tax levies Toledo
voters will consider next month. Toledo City Council
approved a ballot request for parks and recreation operations as
Five county-wide levies also will appear on the November ballot,
including the Lucas County Mental Health and Recovery
Services Board, Lucas County Children Services, Imagination
Station, the Toledo Area Metroparks, and the Toledo-Lucas
County Public Library. Most of those levy requests are
either new funding or a potential increase in property taxes.
La Prensa endorses all of the
A familiar theme among the levy campaigns is a double whammy
involving reduced property values and reduced state funding,
prompting the need for increased local dollars to continue
operating. Chamber of commerce analysis shows the owner of a
$100,000 home in TPS would see a property tax increase of $284
per year if all seven levies pass.