Kent Schools pass operating levy for district’s financial stability

Katie Hilbert

When the call came in at about 11:30 p.m. that the Kent City School levy passed, six weary, but dedicated people were left at the Kent City School District Board of Education building to hear the news.

Quiet clapping filled the room as the small group of people celebrated the school district’s victory.

Community members and school district employees gathered in the administration building on 321 N. Depeyster St. at about 8 p.m. to await the results of the 6.9-mill operating levy that appeared on the ballot. The levy will raise $3.3 million annually for the school district.

Of the 29 precincts reporting, 55 percent of people voted in favor of the levy, and 45 percent voted against the levy.

Superintendent Marc Crail awaited the results at the Board of Elections, and after the results came in, he said it had been a long night but said it is great to have the levy behind them and to have such a great community.

Earlier in the evening, about 15 people filled the room, and the air buzzed with optimism, as people chatted and laughed and ate the snacks provided. Every so often, someone would refresh the computer to check the Board of Elections’ Web site, which was being projected onto a screen.

While waiting for the results, Denice Bertino, principal at Franklin Elementary School, said she felt very positive about the levy.

Rebekah Wright Kulis, of Wright Heating & Cooling, also said she was optimistic. Kulis co-chaired the levy committee. As co-chair, she talked to the community and encouraged them to support the levy.

“(The) quality of the schools speaks for itself,” she said.

She added that it had been an exciting day, and she was looking forward to hearing the results.

Karen Schofield, the director of elementary and middle school education, said she was “feeling pretty good” about the levy, as she awaited the results. She said she had been talking to community members and trying to convince people to vote in favor of the levy.

“I’ve just heard a lot of good things from my folks,” she said.

The adrenaline and enthusiasm died down, as the hours wore on, however, and the crowd became smaller and smaller.

Bertino, who was one of the six people left to hear the results and was the one who answered the phone and heard the results before anyone else in the room. Bertino said she was “ecstatic.”

Crail said he is proud of the community.

“Now it’s up to us to use these funds in a cost-effective way,” he said.

Contact public affairs reporter Katie Hilbert at [email protected]