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Parma schools will put another bond issue attempt on the ballot in May

Cars pass by a pro-Issue 9 sign in Parma.
Ryan Loew
Ideastream Public Media
Cars pass by a pro-school bond issue sign in Parma in fall 2022.

The Parma City School Board of Education voted Monday night to attempt to put another bond issue on the ballot for voters to consider in May.

This is the district’s fourth consecutive attempt to get a bond issue approved, with the last attempt failing in November last year, 17,292 to 19,067. The bond would be used to construct a centralized high school as the district looks to close two high schools to trim costs.

Board Vice President Cynthia Lee Bratz said during the meeting Monday the board needs to keep trying because it doesn’t want to lose momentum after recent attempts to educate the public on the benefits of new school facilities.

“I'm hopeful that people are becoming more and more aware of the need for new buildings in the district," she said. "...to do it now, if we don't do it now, who knows when it will ever get revisited and taken care of."

Board members discussed Monday night the need for an additional operating levy in the future, potentially as soon as 2026, although Superintendent Charles Smialek noted that the district consolidating buildings will save the district and taxpayers' money in the long run.

The 4-mill bond issue, if approved in May, could cost taxpayers a little more than $11.50 per month per $100,000 of property value. It's a slight increase from the 3.95-mill bond issue attempt in November.

The district will likely face an uphill battle as levies and bond issues have traditionally not had a high success rate in the district in the past. Plus, the board will likely need to contend with issues of trust after the board's vice president was arrestedon a charge of forgery earlier this month.

Conor Morris is the education reporter for Ideastream Public Media.