PARMA, Ohio - The Parma City School District is facing growing backlash after announcing a projected $8.2 million budget surplus. This follows months of the school district telling residents they’d be $13 million in the hole over the next two years.
As a Parma High School math teacher, Jeff Wensing has a way with numbers, but even he was taken aback by the news.
“My initial reaction was that it was a head scratcher,” said Wensing, who is also the president of the Parma Education Association.
The original $13 million deficit was also the basis of a levy campaign to avoid cutting programs and staff. That measure was voted down earlier this month. Three weeks later, the treasurer released the updated projection.
The school district attributes the surplus to expense reductions, tax settlements and Medicaid reimbursement. However, they also stressed that the money is only a drop in the bucket, a three percent increase to the cash balance.
“A district this size, if you want to offer quality program and keep quality educators like we have, an $8.2 million carry over is not adequate," Wensing said.
But Wensing fears that the budget mishap might make it harder to get future levies passed.
“You now have injured some of the trust with the community and, unfortunately, when the administration makes a mistake, in this case namely the treasurer, it gives the school system a bit of a black eye,” Wensing said.
He is also advocating for the school district to rehire the 57 staff members that were laid off for the next school year.