Garfield Heights Parents Demand Answers About Cuts

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GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio-It was standing room only as parents lined up Wednesday to ask questions to the Garfield Heights City School Board about big changes -- changes that will affect every school in the district.

The district was forced to make yet another round of cuts after another levy failed in November.

"The community has spoken. We haven't passed a levy since 1992. Our state rankings have gone in the wrong direction. Students are performing below standard levels. And there's a real sense of urgency that changes needs to happen," said Superintendent Linda Reid.

So, starting January 17, those changes include a shortened school day to just 5 1/2 hours.

Programs like music, art, phys-ed, and even the library will be eliminated in elementary schools.

"The first lady is always talking about get moving, and physical education is so important to our kids. We have so many obese kids and now that's one of the things you are looking at cutting!" said Katrina Hairston-Taylor, a concerned parent.

Due to the shortened day, students who qualify for free lunches will get those lunches at the end of the day in a brown bagged lunch to go.

"It's getting to the point where we might just have to take our kids academic future in our own hands. There are other choices. But we believe the Garfield Heights School system and we love this community," said Mike Sajovie, a parent.

School officials hope residents take that belief to the polls in March, for another levy.

They hope residents pass it before the cuts go too deep to heal.

"I vote for them all the time. And more people need to get involved. And without the schools, this city is done," added parent Patrick Sajovie.