Operating Levy Information

The Nordonia Operating Levy is a proposed 6.98-mill operating levy that will maintain a high quality school district that our community expects and our students deserve.

The Nordonia Operating Levy would generate about $7 million per year for a continuing period. Funds generated would go toward operating expenses and cost a homeowner $40.72 per month ($488.60 per year) for a $200,000 home. The last time the district received new operating funds was eight years ago in 2011.

The Nordonia Operating Levy would provide the necessary funding to insure financial stability, preserve and protect student opportunities, maintain busing at current levels, and repair dilapidated facilities in the district if approved on May 7, 2019.

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.

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).

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:


• 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.


• 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.


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. 

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.

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 does the School District communicate with the Nordonia Hills Community?

The District, the Administration and the Board of Education try very hard to be completely transparent with the community. We’ve made a significant effort since the last levy to increase communication with the community and the elected officials of Macedonia, Northfield Village, Northfield Center, Sagamore Hills and Boston Heights. Here are some resources for interested parties to stay up on the latest information:

1. 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. The school also keeps district funding information up to date on their website.

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.

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.

Rumor Has It

Keeping an open, honest dialog between the schools and the community is our top priority and a necessity to ensure the continued success of Nordonia Hills City Schools.

Have you heard a rumor about Nordonia Hills City Schools that you would like more information about? SUBMIT YOUR RUMOR HERE, so that we can clear up any misconceptions.

Presentation Materials

Board Open Forum
March 7, 2018
NHS Google Lab
View text-based website