PARMA, Ohio – With the November election just days away Parma voters could see an issue on local ballots they might not be familiar with.
Issue 12 asks voters to renew two existing school levies that are set to expire next year and again in 2027
Aside from a mailer to help explain the issue is a renewal and not asking for more money, the district has not done much to campaign for the levy.
“We understand ballot fatigue and we are trying to make sure that when we go for money people understand it’s not just one more time, it is something we really need so combining it allows us to get the 2024 and 2027 emergency operating levies into one initiative,” said Dr. Charles Smialek, Parma Schools Superintendent.
The 5.9 mil levy will provide $15.6 million dollars for the district over the next ten years beginning in 2024
For property owners that amounts to about $206 for every $100 thousand.
Smialek says the money is primarily being used for personnel in the district.
“Issue 12 is specifically operating money when you look at an operating budget 80 percent of it is personnel, so we are talking about teachers, coaches, counselors, security guards, and lunch monitors. These are all the people it takes to run a school district on a daily basis,” said Smialek.
“Beyond that you have your utility costs, your bus fuel all and all of the day-to-day expenses that go into an operating budget and that is what issue 12 is about. So, we are trying to maintain reasonable class sizes. We are trying to make sure we never have to go back to pay for play and we are trying to make sure we have the wide range of extracurriculars we have for all operating expenses,” he added.
Issue 12 is not to be confused with bond issues to help build a new high school which have failed in the district on four different attempts including this past May.
Smialek says part of the reason the district has not campaigned a great deal for issue 12 is that renewal issues in the district typically pass, the last two of them by about a 60-40% margin.
While some opponents may be concerned that if issue 12 passes it will increase their taxes, Smialek insists it will not.
“Renewals obviously are not new taxes they are not new taxes, it is simply maintaining what we already have to provide the programs that we currently do for our students,” he said.