Apr 28, 2023 - Education

Parma to vote for 4th time on $200M school-consolidation bond issue

A stone sign reading "Parma" outside the Parma, Ohio City Hall

Nice sign outside City Hall in Ohio's seventh-largest city. Photo: Sam Allard/Axios

This Tuesday, Parma voters will decide whether to increase their property taxes to consolidate three high schools into a single campus.

Driving the news: Proponents say the $250 million project would enhance the educational experience for students and provide long-term savings to Parma residents.

Why it matters: Parma is Cleveland's largest suburb and Ohio's seventh-largest city. Voters there have historically shunned new taxes; the last three such bond issues have failed.

Yes, but: Last year, in the most recent campus-consolidation attempt, the margin of defeat was close enough (17,292 to 19,067) to give proponents hope.

What they're saying: "We have been very targeted in our approach and outreach and hope that our positive message about the opportunities for students and our community is gaining traction," Parma schools superintendent Charles Smialek told Axios.

  • "We think the one-campus plan gives us the potential to create something truly unique and enriching in our district."

Details: If the bond issue passes, Parma would shutter Normandy and Valley Forge high schools and construct a campus on the site of Parma Senior High School.

  • Ohio's facilities construction commission would provide more than $70 million toward the project, which would include a new pool, a new auditorium and new science labs.

The other side: At town hall meetings in recent weeks, some residents voiced concern about limited personal budgets due to inflation.

By the numbers: The $200 million bond issue would cost voters $140 per year for every $100,000 of home value (about $12 per month) for a maximum of 36 years.

Meanwhile: Tuesday's primary features scant high-profile candidates and issues.

  • Beachwood, Garfield Heights and Independence also have school levies on the ballot.

What we're wondering: If a new centralized high school is built, will Parma dispense at last with its controversial Redmen mascot?

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