The Board took the initial steps on November 20th by placing a possible levy on the March 19 ballot.
The Board voted 4 to 1 to submit a resolution to the Summit County Auditor’s office requesting the amount of a 5-mill tax levy could raise.
According to Board President Chad Lahrmer, 4 mills would be used for operating costs. The remaining 1 mill would used for permanent improvements.
“With the funds from the MGM going away here in the next few years we want PI [permanent improvement] money in place to replace that, so that we still have money to fix our roofs and our parking lots, our boilers, and all that good stuff,” Lahrmer said.
Submission of the levy resolution was just the first step in the process.
“We need to start the process but we could just let this die in December if we decide to push it off until the November election,” Lahrmer added.
The tax levy motion had not yet been before the FACT committee due to scheduling, Lahrmer said.
Board member Matt Kearney was the dissenting vote and asked the Board to hold off on the resolution vote.
Kearney said that more time is needed to get community support for any type of levy.
“And I think the community was very clear last year when it came to the bond,” Kearney said. “I would just ask that we pause instead of rushing into this.”
“I don’t think it’s rushed,” Lahrmer said. “I don’t know about anyone else on the Board but I have been thinking about it [the tax levy] since last November when the bond issuance failed.”
Board Vice President Amy Vajdich agreed with Lahrmer.
Vajdich said the public began discussing possible financial solutions after the bond failure.
“We knew this was coming when the bond issue failed,” she said. “Those conversations have never died since we failed the bond. We do have to start thinking about it.”
Board member Jason Tidmore said he did not wait until funds were very low before passing a tax levy resolution.
Tidmore said the resolution was “ the fiscally responsible thing, at this point.”
Tidmore said the district has cut spending without impacting classroom learning and student programs.
“It would be a shame to be in a situation where we start impacting that progress,” Tidmore added. “I think that it may make sense for us to at least get the documents in place.”
The Board will still have the option to place the levy on a later ballot, according to Tidmore.
“I do think that now is the time to at least make sure we are in the position to be able to discuss a levy,” he added.
Board member Liz McKinley agreed that making the motion was important, due to deadlines.
“And I do think it’s important to get feedback on the FACT committee work later this month,” McKinley said.
“There are time restraints,” McKinley added. “This particular vote does not put anything on the ballot, it allows for the funds to be certified, of what it would bring in and that’s important information to have.”
Forecast shows possible budget cuts by 2028.
According to a recently released financial five-year forecast, Nordonia City Schools may need to cut 14.29 percent from its budget by the end of fiscal year 2028 to finish with a balanced budget.
The forecast was released by district Treasurer Kyle Kiffer on November 20th at the regularly scheduled Board meeting.
According to Kiffer’s numbers, the district is expected to have a revenue shortfall with expenditures projected to be greater than revenue by $9.4 million by the end of fiscal year 2028.
To balance the budget without additional revenue the district would need to trim 14.29 percent in spending.
The five-year forecast is based on current financial trends and is updated twice a year, Kiffer said.
The majority of district revenue comes from local taxpayers, he said.
Revenue for fiscal year 2024 is estimated to be $58 million which will decrease to $57.9 million at the end of fiscal year 2025 and $56.5 million at the end of fiscal year 2008.
And while revenue is expected to decrease, expenditures are projected to rise, according to Kiffer’s numbers.
The largest expenditures, which include salaries, wages, and benefits, personnel related Kiffer added. Personnel costs account for 75 percent of expenditures.
Expenditures are projected to be $57.3 million at the end of fiscal year 2024. The numbers will increase to $65.8 million by the end of fiscal year 2028.
Board President Chad Lahrmer said while the financial future does not currently look bright, he is happy with the cuts and reductions the district has made.
“We are going to continue to look at budget cuts and staff reductions each and every year,” Lahrmer said. “And we are going to try and extend this as far as we can. It’s just the way it works.”
According to Lahrmer districts eventually need to ask the voters for additional funds.
“Unfortunately we are getting to that point,” Lahrmer added.
The Board approved the forecast which will be updated in May.
- Consent items which included student trips, personnel items, and transportation, passed.
- Resolution to Approve Five-Year Forecast Resolution, passed.
- A Resolution to Approve the Establishment of 200-9753 Middle School Coffee Cart, passed.
- A resolution to Approve Adjusted Appropriations, passed.
The next Regular meeting of the Board will be December 18, 2023, at 7 p.m. at Northfield Elementary School, 9374 Olde Eight Road, Northfield.