‘Demise’ of district? No Parma school levy for November 2017

PARMA, Ohio -- The Parma City School District Board of Education announced Tuesday night that due to a procedural error, there will be no levy on the November 2017 ballot.

During a board meeting on Monday night before the procedural error was known, school district business manager Rusty Kuse talked about what would happen if a levy was not passed in November.

"This path will take the district to a dismal place," he said. "It will gut the education opportunities for your children and our students. It will result in the demise of the Parma City School District as you know it."

According to a news release from the school board, one of the board members was not present for the August 8th meeting due to a personal issue. Even though the four board members who were present passed the levy by a vote of 3-1, the district's legal counsel determined that the combination levy resolution did not have the required approval of two-thirds of all the board's members, as required by Ohio law.

The soonest the levy can appear on the ballot is May 2018.

The district said there are no further planned budget cuts for this year, but they will have to make more than $4 million in cuts for the following school year.

On Monday night, Kuse said seven district buildings would have to be closed:

  • Renwood Elementary
  • Parma Park Elementary
  • Dentzler Elementary
  • Green Valley Elementary
  • Pleasant View 1st Step Pre-school
  • Hanna (Family collaborative)
  • Arlington (Maintenance Facility)

"We would be forced to put our long term master planning on hold," Kuse said. "We would be forced to repurpose the school buildings to maximize savings."

Kuse also said all athletic and extracurricular activities would become full pay to participate.

He said all buildings would close at the end of the school day, which would be state minimum. That could mean just five-and-a-half hours of school per day.

Hilling said 23 general education teacher jobs would be cut along with 23 office and clerical positions.

Many parents were unhappy with Kuse's tone on Monday night.

"You're sending that signal if a taxpayer does not support the levy then they are wishing for the demise of their district and I think that's a horrible statement to put on a taxpayer," one parent said to a round of applause.

"I want to be all over this levy," another parent said. "I want to be all over the community saying support this levy, but the way that it was presented tonight makes it real hard for me to do that."

The board will listen to community input during a town hall meeting on Thursday, Aug. 24, at 7 p.m. at Normandy High School.