Parma school board holds first meeting since levy failure

PARMA, Ohio - Faced with serious money problems, leaders of the Parma City School district are trying to figure out how to keep the district afloat.

Residents had a lot to say during the first board meeting since voters rejected an operating levy last Tuesday.

"We need to immediately begin to look at our options to reduce our expenditures, we need to regain the community's confidence and rebuild their trust," said superintendent Carl Hilling.

Nearly a week after voters rejected an operating levy for the Parma City School district, school administrators are still struggling to figure out a way to balance the budget.

"The district is facing deficits in 2019, 2020 and 2021, which must be addressed by law, the district must operate with a balanced budget and cannot end the school year with a deficit," said Hilling.

Monday, parents and community members attended the first board meeting since the 5-point-9 mil operating levy failed.

"First, I'd like to express my disappointment, not my surprise, but my disappointment that the levy failed," one resident told board members.

"Why are we giving administration three-year contracts when we are not able to give our teachers, staff and students even six months of the same kind of consistency?" said one parent.

"So my question to you is, have you considered administrative cuts, whether it's personnel or salary reduction and if not, why?" said another parent.

"This is a question that we need to address and we will, but right now it would be very difficult to answer that question," responded a board member.

In the past, the school board has talked about various options, including consolidating the district's high schools into one building.

They are not ruling out, trying to place another levy on the ballot later this year.

"The board may decide to place another levy on the November 17, 2017 ballot, however the community has spoke for the second time and I for one, have heard them," said the superintendent.

"If we do put a levy on the ballot next time, it will be because we went as a board, through every single item in this school system and we don't have another penny to cut," said a board member.

More on the Parma school budget issues, here.