Hundreds of parents joined three mayors for a Saturday meeting to voice concerns and offer solutions in the wake of the Parma School District's proposed plan to slash $15 million from the budget.
The gathering, which included parents from the group Save Our Schools, took place at the Cuyahoga Public Library, Parma-Snow Road Branch.
"It's really caught a firestorm raging over three communities," said Parma Mayor Tim DeGeeter.
The fury among citizens of Parma, Parma Heights and Seven Hills is the result of the major deficit announced by the school board and its plan that could eliminate more than 30 teaching positions and dozens of support staff while leaving the district with just one high school instead of three.
It could also increase pay to play fees for students and eliminate educational programs like S.T.E.M.
"Our kids deserve better. Our kids deserve to be able to go to a school where they're not going to get lost in the shuffle," said Courtney Wallace, a parent of three children.
Many parents are strongly against Parma Senior High becoming the only high school and turning Normandy High School and Valley Forge High School into middle schools.
"That raises all kinds of logistics questions, whether there's capacity, whether you have sufficient parking. What are you going to do about security?" said Seven Hills Mayor Richard Del'Aquila.
The district must submit a balanced budget by October 17, but many parents and the mayor are hoping to get an extension so that Parma can look at other options.
"How do you do a comparison? How do you say this plan or this proposal is better than another when there's not even another one to be considered?" asked Parma Heights Mayor Mike Byrne.
This district will soon be asking voters to approve a levy renewal in November. If it's not approved, the deficit could climb to $19 million.
A school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 4 at 5:30 p.m. at Parma Senior High School. A protest by students is being organized.