SCHOOLS’ PORTION SHORTED BY $1 MILLION PER YEAR SINCE 2010
To the Editor:
(Plain Press, May 2015) City council just passed a major increase to the parking fees in this city. Coupled with major increases in rates at private lots, the increase in funds generated by the parking tax must be sizeable.
One of the incentives used to pass the 1995 parking tax was that the Cleveland schools would receive $2 million annually for extracurricular activities for the children to compensate for the lifetime tax abatement given to the football stadium. In 2009, the children received their $2 million. The stadium was given $16 million and spent $20 million creating a $4 million deficit. In 2010, Mayor Jackson decided to divert $1 million of the children’s money to balance that deficit. He, nor the council, has yet to restore it to its promised level.
As dictated by the parking tax ordinance, every year, the district must provide evidence of the effective use of the funds and every year students in the programs have shown significant increases in attendance and grade point averages. The entire school board and the Chief Executive Officer have stated publicly, on the record, that the money should be restored. Yet, sadly, it has not.
Remember, one of the public’s greatest fears of mayoral control was that the mayor would take advantage of school funds, while the appointed school board sat by silently. The fear is now real.
In 2013, the tax generated $27 million. The stadium received $21 million. The children received only $1 million. I cannot believe any informed, caring person would find this tolerable.
It appears it will take a concerted effort by the public to resolve this matter in favor of the children.