OHIO — A number of school districts across the State of Ohio won the hearts of voters at the ballot box on election night. 

What You Need To Know

  • About 170 issues were on ballots across the state

  • 41% of districts requested new money from voters and 35% of those passed

  • State issues 1 and 2 played significant roles in helping draw otters to the polls, who ultimately voted for school levies

  • In many places, inflation and organized opposition did not deter voters from helping to pass levies and bond issues

Campaign levy experts said the biggest surprise of the night was the Columbus City School levy. That’s because the campaign levy team did not raise as much money as they normally do this election cycle and because there was organized opposition.

Jerry Rampelt, Founder of Support Ohio Schools Research Foundation, has worked with campaign levy teams across the state for years. He said the two key issues appeared to be warnings that the district may not be able to pass the levy, but voters turned out in great numbers to defy it all. He noted that state issues 1 and 2 on the ballot were the big draws for voters this time, especially for young adults and women. 

Looking across the state, Rampelt noted that because so many levies passed this time around in an odd-year election, issues with the economy, in particular inflation, did not stop voters from voting for levies either.

“All politics are local, and it's when it's your kids, you want to make sure the resources are there for your kids,” he said.

Essentially, the view is that people tend to look beyond how a levy may impact their wallet when there’s a personal tie. This was the case for Shaker Heights School District, near Cleveland, and Columbus Schools, both districts, which typically are able to pass levies and bond issues.

Cuyahoga County, Shaker Heights School District, passed with 59% of votes being yes and 41% of the vote saying no. In Franklin County, Columbus City Schools, 55% of the votes were in support with 45% being against. 

School districts that were not able to pass levies will now have to figure out if they will come back next March to try again with voters. In the meantime, cuts to personnel, class sizes, and course options are now on the table for those districts as they don’t have the dollars to support it all. Vandalia-Butler School District and Northmont City Schools are two examples of this. This is the second time this year that both districts had levies fail.

Montgomery County, Vandalia-Butler School District, pulled only 46% of votes in support and 54% opposing. In the same county, Northmont City Schools also failed, pulling only 46% of votes in support and 54% going against.