Tradecraft‎ > ‎Making Change‎ > ‎Organizing Campaigns‎ > ‎Projects‎ > ‎

Public School Levy Campaigns

Why organize tenants in your community?  Maybe to help pass school levies...

Here's some examples...

Columbus City Schools: Renters’ views unclear on Columbus schools’ tax vote
When it comes to voting on property-tax increases, Jenine Larrabee doesn’t think renters like her ever consider that the tax hike could drive up their rent. After all, the landlord pays the tax. But she knows that landlords base their rents in part on their costs, and those costs include taxes.' Read more here.

The Stow-Munroe Falls School Levy
passed on Tuesday, November 6 by a vote of 57.65% to 42.35%. This is despite a concerted effort among area landlords who came together to orchestrate a campaign to convince renters that their rent would go up if property taxes for the landlords went up.

Landlords sent out mailings and knocked on their own tenants’ doors, alerting them to the prospect that the increases in property taxes would simply be passed onto tenants. Advocates in support of the school levy, in turn, did the same and coordinated a letter writing campaign, making the case that better schools are far more important to the parents and children that live in the district than to landlords who don’t.
Letter to the Editor: ‘No’ vote on school levy may be ‘vote of compassion for those hurting’
Letter to the Editor: “Tax Levy Voting”

Cleveland Municipal School District. 

An article in the Plain Dealer in advance of the Cleveland City Schools’ Levy addressed the issue. Ralph McGreevy of the Northeast Ohio Apartment Association doesn’t think the levy will have much impact on renters, while Angela Shuckahosee of the Cleveland Tenants Organization, says tenants should be prepared:
    "Can you raise the rent equivalent to the amount of the [tax] increase? Probably not," said Ralph McGreevy, executive vice president of the Northeast Ohio Apartment Association. "Rents aren't necessarily dictated by the expenses of the landlord. There's only so much rent you can get out of the space."
    Angela Shuckahosee, executive director of the Cleveland Tenants Organization, said she doesn't think renters will escape higher rents if the tax passes. She said landlords would likely lose tenants if they announced large rent hikes, but increases of $10 to $50 a month are possible.
    "Renters should expect to feel some increase," said Shuckahosee, who has personally campaigned for the school tax, although the Tenants Organization takes no position on it. "I'm sure some of that levy cost will be passed on to renters."  “Cleveland’s proposed school tax may not hurt renters much, eventhough they outnumber homeowners:” Plain Dealer:

 What are the factors in the renter vote?
  • renters don't pay property tax, and
  • the connection between a property tax increase and a rent increase is indirect (rents are governed by a variety of factors and limited by "the market").
  • younger families more likely to support school levies and more likely to be renters but younger people vote at lower rates than older people.
  • renters vote at lower rates than resident homeowners.
We're looking for research and examples of campaigns that focus on renters as voters! 
send your information to

Notes & Links

Thanks to Kelan for developing content on this webpage!