By Victor Milani
I am writing this editorial from a parent’s point of view, and not representing the Nordonia Hills. News (of which at this time I remain as a consultant, but holding no title having resigned on Dec 30th).
When the levy was on the fall ballot originally, it ran along with a Macedonia city levy. I had serious doubts that voters would pass both levies at the same time. The residents had too much on their financial plates to absorb both levy passages. The city of Macedonia was fortunate to have their levy pass, while the School levy failed by 685 votes. Unfortunately, some issues that the Nordonia Hills schools had last fall remain since that loss at the polls. School security measures, leaking roofs, and faulty boilers have not magically gone away. They remain, only to get worse in time without repair. They must reduce spending by $1.6 million and increase revenue, or face a $2.6 million dollar deficit at the fiscal end of 2021. This mandate to have a balanced budget comes from The Ohio Board of Education. The NH Board of Education had no choice but to place a 6.98 mill continuing levy on the ballot. These cuts would reduce 38 staff jobs and reduce busing back to state minimums. The reduction in busing would eliminate a nearly $600,000 encumbrance. High School busing would be eliminated. Students from K-8 would have to return to the previous guidelines of having to live with a 2 mile radius to have busing provided. 2300 Students would have busing eliminated of this levy doesn’t pass. All day kindergarten fees would rise $500 to $2700. High School student participating in athletics would pay $280, up from $230. Middle school athletic fees would rise from $115 to $ 140. Band and Choir fees would increase by 20%. Color Guard fees would increase from $125 to $150, with Winter Guard fees going from $150 to $180. Class sizes might increase at the elementary and High School buildings. A continuing operating levy would generate over $7 million annually, starting in January of 2020.
Those are the numbers that you must make your opinion based on. A continuing levy would mean that the voters would assure that the schools would be solvent in the future. Residents would NOT have to be asked for more money every five or six years. Let’s be honest, schools are like any other business or household. The cost of operating on an annual basis goes up, not down. The cost of teachers, maintence of schools and newly implemented security measures can be worked in to a budget where the revenue stream coming in is not only steady, but predictable. A quality school system increases housing values. From a personal point, I have had two of my children graduate from Nordonia, with a third being a freshman this year. Myself and my family are all Nordonia Graduates, with my late father Arch, Uncle Silvio and Cousin being in the Hall of Fame. I believe in paying forward and would have no issue continuing to provide funds , even if I had no children in the system.
As I have said in the past, I can’t tell you how to vote. I don’t know your fiscal or personal affairs, nor is it my business. I look at this levy not as a WANT.. BUT A NEED! The students nowadays are faced with far more serious social (peer pressure, bullying, drug, alcohol abuse) issues than I did as a student. They need all the help and support they can get from a strong school system. I have looked at the books of Nordonia, and I would be the first to tell you if I saw shady dealings. Treasurer, CFO Karen Obratil runs a steady, honest fiscal ship. NORDONIA HILLS GETS THEIR BANG FOR THE BUCK. AND THEN SOME. May 7th, if you can find in your budget, I would hope for the future of our children, this levy does pass!