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No New Taxes

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Facing tough votes on property-tax increases next month, some school officials in Ohio are pledging to hold the line on new spending and taxes. Some have issued "contracts" or "guarantees" in which they put their word--and their jobs--on the line.

For example, the Lakewood schools' contract with the residents reads, in part:

We are asking the citizens to:

Stabilize the schools' finances. Without new revenue, we will be forced to borrow $1 million for the 1995-96 school year and an additional $3.8 million for the following year.

The board of education resolves to:

1. Hold the line across the board on expenditures by capping spending increases at an average of 3.5 percent per year for the next three years. We will not seek a property-tax levy collectible before 1999.

2. Develop a comprehensive security plan for the school district.

3. Stop the decline in program quality.

4. Insure that board members and the new superintendent engage in an ongoing dialogue with the Lakewood community to create further understanding of school and community needs.

5. Work at the state level to achieve more educational support for our schools that will relieve the burden of property taxes.

The Garfield Heights schools' contract with residents says, in part:

We, the undersigned members of the Garfield Heights city schools board of education and its superintendent, solemnly swear to the residents of Garfield Heights:

1. That the Garfield Heights city schools will provide our students with a first-class education to compete successfully for the jobs of the computer age.

2. That if the new 4.9 mill issue and the two renewal issues are approved by the voters May 2, 1995, the district will not seek any further increases this century.

3. We will resign our positions as members of the Garfield Heights board of education and superintendent if we are forced to break this pledge.

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