By BRAD BOURNIVAL
PARMA â€” The new-look Northeast Ohio Conference might get another fresh look if things continue the way they are in the Parma City School District.
With Valley Forge, Parma and Normandy struggling to pass a levy, the district school board has turned its eye toward the 2009 spring sports season in order to keep afloat.
Parma voters defeated a levy in March, prompting cuts to be made.
According to Parma chief financial officer Bruce Basalla, 43 jobs will need to be slashed in anticipation of a $2.5 million shortfall next fiscal year, which begins July 1.
Job cuts would include 15 teachers, six maintenance workers, 15 custodians and four administrators to save $900,000. Where it affects Medina County is in the slashing of supplemental salaries for spring sports â€” a savings of $147,000 â€” that would mean no baseball, tennis, softball and boys and girls track.
â€œFrom what I understand in talking to the (Parma school athletic directors), they did not pass (supplemental contracts for) the spring coaches,â€ Brunswick athletic director Tom Taylor said. â€œThey didnâ€™t vote on the spring coaches.â€
Though Parma, Normandy and Valley Forge arenâ€™t in any of the divisions Brunswick and Medina are in, the number of teams in the NOC would fall from 18 to 15, leaving an uneven balance.
As it stands now, the Lake, River and Valley divisions can be broken down equally to six apiece, leaving three champions.
With 15 teams, the league would most likely look more like the Pioneer Conference of 2003 and 2004, when it was broken up into the Frontier and Heritage divisions.
â€œYouâ€™ve got to find games,â€ Taylor said. â€œItâ€™s three schools out of 18 and as a league we would have to look at two divisions instead of three.
â€œAs a league weâ€™ll have to rework the whole thing. Youâ€™re down to 15 teams in the spring, so itâ€™s a question talking it out and seeing what we need to do.â€
The intra-conference or â€œnon-conferenceâ€ games wouldnâ€™t be hard to fill for Medina and Brunswick, as the schools would just call the non-conference schools the Patriots, Invaders and Redmen had on their schedule in hopes of filling the empty holes.
â€œYou just start calling them and hope you can fill the void that way,â€ Taylor said.
Though no one from the Parma City School District was willing to go on record, it sounds like there could be a way to save spring sports should voters pass the levy, which is expected to go on the ballot again in November.
The next NOC atheletic directors meeting is May 14.
Bournival may be reached at email@example.com or 330-721-4045.
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By BRAD BOURNIVAL