PARMA, OHIO - The Parma Board of Education now has a few extra weeks to consider a controversial plan to combine or close schools and cut dozens of jobs. The district is trying to manage a $15 million budget deficit.
The Ohio Department of Education has given the school district until November first to come up with a plan to balance the budget until 2018. The original deadline was October 17th.
The Parma School Board swore in Lynn Halloran as its new president Monday night after the former head of the panel abruptly resigned during a raucous meeting last Tuesday.
Last week, hundreds of students marched from Normandy and Valley Forge High Schools and met up for a board meeting at Parma High School, an action that board members praised.
One proposal is to merge all three high schools into one, and close some others to manage the $15 million deficit. The board has taken that plan off the table for now.
"I think an outside audit of the books would be most beneficial to the board and to anybody else involved,” said one woman.
The atmosphere was calmer Monday inside the auditorium as parents and community members showed up to ask questions and offer comments.
"Can you tell me specifically what courses would be cut, what services and programs would be cut?" asked the father of one student.
"That is still under advisement, we're not sure," answered a board member.
School board members told the crowd that they will consider all options as they look for ways to eliminate the deficit.
"I think it is imperative that parents, teachers, community people be involved in the discussion, and have input in the decision," said a community member.
"They were just ignoring our needs and talk about real stuff, then by October 24, they'll probably just deny and close all the schools, and this is just a waste of time," said parent Slobodanka Key.
The board expects to vote on a new plan at their October 24th meeting, in order to meet the new November first deadline.