TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - It's the fuel that keeps Toledo Schools running. That is why parents, students and school board leaders gathered at Woodward High School Tuesday evening at a rally supporting Issue 9.
Issue 9 is not a new tax. It will renew a current tax levy for five years.
The levy infuses $13 million dollars into the district each year. It helps pay for things like building maintenance, teacher salaries, and getting more students a bus ride to school for all K to 12 students, some of whom used to have to walk up to two miles to their schools.
The 6.5 mill levy means a homeowner with an assessed value of $100,000 would pay about $178 in taxes a year.
One parent Woodward High School student says she's at the rally because Issue 9 will keep money going into the facilities and faculty that make the high school feel like "family" to her son.
"To come to a clean school and a family oriented school. To have support for the kids," Ruchele Ewing, who has a son at Woodward who plays on the basketball team, said. "There's a lot going on in the neighborhoods, so to come here and feel safe and secure at Woodward is very good for my family. "
Despite a recent 'F' in achievement on Ohio's state report card, TPS leaders say that is not reflective of the huge strides they are making for local students.
TPS superintendent Romules Durant explains many of the district's students come to school, already behind.
"So when you look at our numbers of kids who come to Kindergarten, you know 80 percent need intervention, 60 to 80 percent need intensive intervention," Durant said. "Meaning those are the kids that come with 30,000 words less than the typical peers. They come in not knowing their numbers, not being able to count up to 20. "
That's why some of the levy dollars go to universal preschool for TPS students to give them a head start.
Durant says early childhood education is critical to higher scores when their students continue past Kindergarten.
"You're going to have many kids showing up to school much more kindergarten and school-ready than we see in current days," Durant explained.
If Issue 9 does not pass November 7th, TPS will have three more opportunities to get this in front of voters before the funding dries up.
In the end, if it fails, there would be cuts to the district's operating budget.