A message from Superintendent Charles Smialek, Ph.D.
On May 23, 2019, the Parma Board of Education adopted their first five-year forecast of 2019, illustrating a healthier financial outlook than recent forecasts have projected. The new forecast now calls for positive general fund balances through 2023, which, if maintained, would allow the district to refrain from asking voters to approve new operating money until 2022.
The following factors have most significantly contributed to the improved outlook:
• The $23 million worth of cuts in operating expenditures between 2016-18, combined with freezes in compensation for many of our employee groups have effectively eliminated the previous gaps between revenue and expenditures.
• The 2018 reassessment of property values led to an approximately $1 million increase in revenue for the district. Ohio House Bill 920 freezes the value of approved levies (outside millage), but state-determined inside millage yielded this small change to our collection.
This improved financial outlook allows the district to allocate new expenditures to several initiatives aligned with their overall goals:
Improve Student Achievement
• Elimination of Fee Structure for Athletics and Selected Extra-Curricular Activities: The district is eliminating its current athletic fee structure which can cost families of athletes up to $900 per year. No district fee will apply to participation in sports, though there may still be ancillary costs for camps or unique activity needs.
Further, the district will not charge students the cost of their advisorʼs supplemental contract to participate in the following extra-curricular activities:
Elementary Schools: Choir
Middle Schools: Jazz Band, Pop Ensemble
High Schools: Academic Team, Dramatics, Marching Band
- STEM Expansion: Greenbriar Middle School will now feature a STEM team in the sixth grade, an expansion of the districtʼs current offering in only the fifth grade.
- Math Enrichment: All three high schools will offer a two-period math class to targeted eighth grade students, providing additional instruction to those in need of intervention before beginning Algebra I.
- Administrative Specialist for Workforce Development: This position will coordinate career readiness activities, including field trips, mentorships, job shadowing experiences, and speaker series for our middle and high school students.
Practice Fiscal Responsibility
The Board of Education also approved a resolution to establish a budget reserve allocation of $500,000 per year each of the next four years. This budget reserve will serve as a “rainy day fund” and is not accessible to the administration unless the Board affirms the extenuating circumstances that necessitate its use.
Increase Transparency in our Communities
The five-year forecast allows the district to clearly outline future ballot initiatives, all based upon current revenue and expenditure projections as well as stable state funding.
2020 Renewal of Emergency Levy (Not a new tax, no tax increase)
2020 Bond Issue (To fund consolidation into new schools)
2022 Operating Levy (To increase operating revenue for the first time since 2011)
“We would love to return all of the services and programs that were cut over the last few years, but thatʼs still not feasible,” PCSD Board of Education President John Schweitzer, explained. “However, these moves tonight allow us to give back to our students and families in as fiscally responsible a manner as possible. Bottom line, our kids will have more opportunities next year than they did this year, and that makes tonight a success for all of our district.”