Winton Woods school levy supporters rally at the football game

The message on Winton Wood High School's score board on Friday was simple. "Vote for Issue 55." That's exactly what administrators from the Winton Woods School District wants locals to do on Tuesday. All signs show if the school levy is not passed, the future of extracurricular activities here, including band, cheerleading and football, could go dark.

Winton Woods High School senior Emily Cooper has just about done it all. She involved with the band, choir, and even in school plays.

"With all these groups, I've gone to China, Orlando and Atlanta," Cooper said. "And I can't imagine not having those experiences. Those are trips I'm going to remember my entire life."

Winton Woods High School senior Paige Williams agreed. Williams said she also worries how stripping to the bare bones could erase many students' chances at getting into colleges.

"Colleges want to see people with a lot of activities," Williams said. "They want to know if you can work with people."

So to rally support, Winton Woods High Students organized a tailgating event on Friday right before the Varsity game. Students said they fear they won't have one next year.

"It'll cut our heart out," Winton Woods School Board President Jack Lee said. "Cut out our souls. Let alone what it'll do to the community. I don't want to think about it really."

Lee said he does think about it -- just about all the time, too. Lee said without the money from the levy, the district will have to cut $2 million from the budget. He said cutting all extracurricular activities for high school students will amount to about $500,000 of that money. Lee said to make up the difference, the district will also have to lay off at least 30 teachers and staff.

Lee said the $4.2 million emergency levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $235 a year.

Still, some residents say they can't afford to help.

Mayor Charles Johnson said they can't afford not to.

"When people are looking to purchase homes they don't look at your home and say I'll buy your home because you don't have kids," Johnson said. "The value of all the properties drops."

Research shows school issues are more likely to be passed if put on the ballot in November or May. Winton Woods School officials are certainly hoping that'll be the case for them this year.