PARMA, OH (WOIO) - An emergency tax levy in Parma Tuesday is keeping voters on edge for results after the polls close during a controversial time for the school district.
Passage of the school tax renewal is needed to avoid any more drastic cuts like those in the latest recovery plan submitted to the state. School leaders say without the tax, they don't know what they would do after the community put its foot down against closing or repurposing any buildings.
Issue 118 is 10-year tax renewal that brings in an estimated $8 million to the district a year and costs the average homeowner about $125 a year.
District spokesman, Dan Rajkovich, said with the financial trouble that built up over the last couple years due to overspending on the students the last thing they can afford is losing the tax levy they've depended on since 1996.
"If that goes away ... I don't know what the future holds but it makes it more difficult to keep providing the education the community wants to our children," he said.
After a threat of going into fiscal caution status with the state, the district just submitted a plan to balance the budget with calls for $7 million in cuts this year and $12 million next.
"Obviously, no one wants any types of reductions at all this was the situation we were in so we did our best to try to make reductions that made sense and didn't impact kids as much as possible," said Rajkovich.
The plan calls for the most cuts at the middle school level when it comes to academics in addition to pages of extra-curricular put on the chopping block at all schools if they can't turn them into pay to participate programs.
"We already voted for it ... it's for the kids you know," said Parma resident Richard Stupka. His wife, Judy, added "it's tough for us seniors to pay you know the extra money but, you know it's worth it for the kids."
The district hopes voters will renew the property tax that collects through the end of 2017. If it fails, the district has three more chances to renew the levy.
"I know it sounds tough but, you have to do it," said Parma resident Fred Werther.
Others voters said they didn't want to be quoted but said they are not in favor or renewing the tax basically because they are angry with the district for getting in such trouble in the first place.
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