Parma voters soundly defeat proposed school levy

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 9:21 PM EDT

PARMA, Ohio (WOIO) - Children’s futures are on the line in a local district. Voters shot down a school levy in Parma, and it’s far from the first time.  In fact, it’s what usually happens.

Now, administrators have some tough decisions to make on how they’ll handle a budget crossroads.

It appears they’re going to have to go back to the drawing board and develop another plan to convince voters what they want to do is in the best interests of the students and the residents. 

No one from the Parma School District would go on camera, but residents in the city of nearly 80 thousand people didn’t hesitate. “I am glad it did not pass.  Matter a fact; they want to mothball that school.”

“Too bad. I wish it had passed.”

The debate rages.  But in fact, Issue 10 failed big time.  Voters in Parma rejected it by over 60-percent…overwhelmingly.  The 271-million dollar bond would have been in effect for nearly 40 years and would have cost just over 200-dollars annually per 100-thousand dollars of accessed home value.  The district wanted two new school buildings and some improvements at Parma High School, and they also want to downsize from six to two school buildings.

Terry, who was out walking in the rain along West 54th street near the school administration building, says this. “Everybody is on a fixed income, mostly in Parma here.” 

That’s a common reason we’ve heard over and over today. Seniors say they can’t afford it.  John Quinn was out shopping, and he didn’t hold back. “I think voters told the city of Parma what they really felt.  They need to be more accountable in the school system.  Not only in Parma but in Ohio.”

When it keeps failing like this, it’s not good for the city.” Laurie has an 8th-grade son in the district at Normandy High.  She had hoped the vote would go the other way. “It’s too bad that it failed.  I definitely voted yes on it.  To keep the city nice, I think you have to have good schools. And when it keeps failing like this, it’s not good for the city.

Here’s a quote from a statement the district released from Superintendent Dr. Charles Smialek. “This loss was resounding. We will take a few days to reflect upon the message of last night’s results and then must soon work to rethink and retool.” 

The senior adult population in Parma is less than 20-percent of its 80-thousand residents.  But it’s getting older all the time.  Residents say they love kids, but they can’t afford the extra money the levy would cost.

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