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Parma City School district considering closing schools through $263 million consolidation plan

Posted at 5:56 PM, Dec 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 18:10:02-05

PARMA, Ohio — Parma City Schools may be closing several buildings throughout the district in effort to consolidate.

Superintendent Charles Smialek proposed the strategic consolidation plan alongside the GPD Group, an architectural firm, to the Board of Education on Tuesday.

“Our students need and deserve 21st century facilities,” he told News 5. “We’ve tried to consolidate before but the reality was those were consolidating into buildings that are continuing to age and really continuing to increase in maintenance costs.”

If approved, Smialek says estimates show property taxes would increase to $17.83 per month for a $100,000 home. Construction costs is estimated at $263 million, which will require residents to vote on a $6.12 million bond issue in November 2020. However, the district is eligible to receive Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) matching funds, which is estimated to cover 34% of the cost per phase.

The plan would replace 15 schools wit nine new campuses through two phases, according to a press release from the district.

Phase One (Secondary)

  • Construct middle (grades 6-8) and high schools (grades 9-12) on the current Normandy and Valley Forge campuses.
  • Re-purpose Parma Senior High School to become the home of central office, Opportunity Center for Students with Autism, Parma Schools Alumni Museum, Culinary and Cosmetology Career and Technical Education programs and community assets including a pool, gymnasiums and theaters.
  • Close Greenbriar and Shiloh middle schools, preserving this land for potential elementary campus sites.
  • Re-purpose Hillside as an elementary school and site of future elementary school.

Phase Two (Elementary)

  • Construct six campuses (grades K-5).
  • Three campuses will compose the East Cluster and three will compose the West Cluster.
  • One campus will be located in Parma Heights, one in Seven hills and four in Parma.
  • Actual location of campuses will be determined wen the Board receives state contribution.
  • Two campuses in each cluster will also feature a pre-kindergarten program.
  • Donna Goodwin, a proud Parma Senior High alum, grew up across the street from the school. She says her three children also went to that school.

“It’s a lot of history behind all that,” she said. “It brings pride to me.”

Goodwin says the plans for Parma Senior high School are disappointing.

“You have a lot of kids that graduated from there that are my age now. You have kids that have graduated from all the way up until these kids graduated. They don’t want to see it torn down.”

But Smialek is hopeful everyone in the community will come around.

“We want to honor that tradition. We want to honor that pride that is so strong in our community,” Smialek said. “It’s about having great facilities for our kids and really stronger communities.”

Smialek says if all goes well, he hopes construction will finish by Fall 2023.

The Board will vote on the plan on December 19.