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How Issue 5 could affect students at Cuyahoga Community College

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Posted at 6:07 PM, Nov 06, 2023

CLEVELAND — Cuyahoga Community College is asking residents to help invest in their students by voting yes for Issue 5 on the November ballot, which is tax levy renewal with a slight increase.

Samantha Franco is a second-year nursing student at Cuyahoga Community College. At one point, she wasn't sure of her career path, but says Tri-C made it easy for her to decide.

“Obviously, we have the lowest tuition at Tri-C, which was awesome. So, I’m like, You know I can mess around with my studies and do it cheaply,” said Franco.

Stories like Samantha’s are why Michael Baston, Cuyahoga Community College President, is pushing voters to approve Issue 5.

“Issue 5 is a powerful opportunity for our community to invest in the college and its people,” said Baston.

Issue 5 would renew a tax levy with a slight increase, which Baston says will help Tri-C continue to improve their workforce training and support technical education.

“With the rising cost of inflation and just about everything, we needed additional resources so that we could keep tuition low, could invest in making sure that we have the best academic programs, the facilities,” said Baston.

If passed, it would be a 2.1 mill renewal tax levy with a 0.4 mill increase, meaning property taxes would increase by about $14 a year for every $100,000 of assessed value on a home.

Kathi Howard-Primes, an education expert and the CEO of Momentuum LLC who does tutoring and education consulting, said that levies are crucial for schools.

“So, most of the funding that we've received for statewide colleges, as well as school districts, is provided by taxes and through the state of Ohio Department of Education,” said Howard-Primes.

We spoke with several people Monday who didn't want to go on camera; they all said they would vote to support Issue 5, but, Howard said some people will vote no because they may not want to see their taxes increase. Baston adds that for some, education isn’t a priority.

“People may feel — wonder if this is an investment for me, when you have lots of different sort of things going on in your own economy,” said Baston.

For Baston, the impacts of the tax dollars are immeasurable and seen every day.

“Taxpayers see the fruits of the labor of this college every day — those firefighters, those nurses, those police officers,” said Baston.

That's especially true for students like Franco.

If Issue 5 doesn't pass, Baston said they'll have make some dramatic changes which would affect everyone.

“We may not have as many community services that we have, we may not be able to keep as many staff members, there may be students whose dreams are going to get deferred from this opportunity. All of those things could happen,” said Baston.

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