Frequently Asked Questions

Please keep in mind, the Nordonia Hills City School District is a separate and distinct legal entity. Nordonia Schools are made up of five different communities: Macedonia, Northfield Village, Sagamore Hills, Northfield Center and part of Boston Heights.

Presentation Materials

Below is a list of materials from the March 7, 2018 Open Forum about the levy. They contain more detailed information about the state of our schools.

When did the last levy pass in Nordonia?

November, 2011

How exactly will these additional funds be appropriated to benefit the Nordonia Hills City Schools?

The funds raised by the levy will be used in three basic ways:

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS ON OUTDATED AND DILAPIDATED SCHOOL FACILITIES AND SYSTEMS WILL BE MADE

  • All of the district’s buildings were last renovated in 2001.
  • Roofs and boilers are coming to the end of their lifespan.
  • Unsafe parking lots, gym floors, playgrounds and other areas put students at risk of injury.
  • Just as a house requires renovations, the district needs to maintain its systems.
THE DISTRICT WILL MAINTAIN AND ENHANCE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS TO PREPARE OUR STUDENTS FOR COLLEGE AND CAREERS
  • Students need access to more Advanced Placement and College Credit Plus opportunities to remain competitive.
  • Programs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), music, art, and world languages are in more demand and need to be expanded.
  • District technology, textbooks and other materials for instruction must be kept up to date.
IMPROVEMENTS FOR THE DISTRICT IN SAFETY AND SECURITY WILL BE MADE

Based on feedback from community members, it is clear that safety continues to be a top priority of the district in light of recent national events.

Because the levy failed in November, the district lost $7 million that would have been collected in 2019. So, the district will not be doing most of the security items that had been planned, including the building improvements. The board is still discussing what will be done in terms of mental health, etc. and hopes to have that decided soon.

Aren't there any grants the district could apply for to pay for some safety needs?

There are 607 school districts in the state of Ohio. Nordonia is the 41st wealthiest in terms of property value per pupil, at a rate of $263,945.66 per student (source: FY17 Cupp Report).

Because its wealth is in the top 7% of school districts in Ohio, Nordonia does not qualify for most grants, as they are most often needs-based.

Will any of the money be used for for staff salaries and/or benefits?

This is an Operating Levy on the ballot. Operating Levies pay for all of the district’s operating expenses. That includes things like utilities, supplies, insurance, and technology. And yes, that also includes salaries and benefits. Because schools are a service industry, approximately 75% of expenses pay for the people who work here—salaries and benefits. Because revenue is flat in Ohio schools, and expenses continue to rise (just like in your own home), districts ask voters to approve Operating Levies to keep up with rising expenses.

As Nordonia does not have a Permanent Improvement Levy, the funds used from Nordonia Operating Levies also pay for things like roofs, parking lots, boilers, etc. How much will the 6.98-mil operating levy generate for the School District?

The levy will generate just over $7,000,000 per year in additional funding for the District. If the levy passes in May, the District will start collecting these funds in 2020. School Districts have no other way to generate revenue in the State of Ohio, other than through levies. From time-to-time, I will hear “creative” ways to increase funding, like charging for certain services. These methods are not allowed by law. The Schools do charge participation fees for extracurricular activities and for all day kindergarten. In the grand scheme of our budget, these fees are pretty minimal.

When did Nordonia Schools last pass an operating levy?

The last operating levy was passed in November 2011. When this levy passed, it was projected that an additional levy would be needed in a couple of years. Through diligent cost containment, the District has managed to stretch it into 2019.

Why can’t the District “cut back” or just “live within its means.”

The District does a very good job of watching expenses and containing costs whenever possible. Our Treasurer, Karen Obratil, and her staff have won awards for the quality of their work.

For the fiscal year-ending June 30, 2018, 65% of the District’s revenue was generated from local taxes. This compares to about 60% ten years ago. As the State continues to take away funding from Schools and Local governments, the operational burden falls more on the local tax payers. The District’s revenues have remained flat since the last levy passage. Meanwhile, the District’s expenses increase every year, just as everyone else’s do.

Is this an operating levy or a renewal?

This is not a renewal levy. This is a new operating levy.

There seems to be some confusion on this one. This is a continuous operating levy. That means, once the levy has been passed, it will continue to generate 6.98-mils per year every year. It will not expire and it does not need to be renewed. It will also never generate more than 6.98-mils. Even if property values increase in the community, the amount generated by the levy will not increase.

How much will the levy cost a homeowner?

The cost is about $41 per month for a $200,000 home.

How does the District’s tax rate compare to other school systems?

Nordonia has the fourth lowest tax rate in Summit County. Compared to surrounding schools, Nordonia (35.98-mils) is 8.11 mils lower than Twinsburg (44.09-mils) and 12.40 mils lower than Hudson (48.38 mils).

Stay Up-To-Date with the latest levy info:

Here are the ways the District is getting out information about the levy. If you would like to ask a question directly to the District, you can use their anonymous Online Form. If you would like to contact Friends of Nordonia Schools, either to ask a question or to volunteer your help, use our Contact Page.

1. Key Communicators - Dr. Clark, District Superintendent, has mobilized a "Key Communicator" program. Using this program, Dr Clark is now able to disseminate breaking news, major news or urgent news to his list of Key Communicators, who then in turn can take quick action to make sure the community at large is aware of certain events.

2. News Leader – Dr. Clark writes a monthly article in the News Leader. The District will also occasionally run advertisements in the paper to provide information. Every Board meeting or committee meeting is provided to the News Leader as a press release.

3. Social Media – The District actively posts information and events on the district Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/NordoniaHillsSchools). Dr. Clark and the rest of the Administrative team is very active on Twitter (@DrJoeClark). Facebook and Twitter ads are periodically run to increase awareness of these platforms to the community. Currently over 2500 people follow the schools on Facebook, and Dr. Clark has nearly 9,000 followers on Twitter.

4. Post Cards – The District implemented a triennial post card mailing to the entire Nordonia community with key dates, events and accomplishments.

5. District Website - The school also keeps district funding information up to date on their website at: http://www.nordoniaschools.org/DistrictFundingInformation.aspx

6. Community Forums – The Board has been holding Open Forum School Board meetings twice per year for the last couple of years to gather feedback from the community. You can find all these Forums advertised/promoted on the 5 previous platforms.