NORTHFIELD CENTER TWP. — The Nordonia Hills school board has approved agreements freezing staff pay, while approving the layoff of 33 employees.
Under legislation approved Monday, the contracts for five certified staff members and 28 classified staff members will be suspended effective June 6. The staff cuts, along with a reduction in busing to state minimum effective next year, will save the district $1.67 million per year. The busing cut is meant to save $595,000 a year.
School officials previously said some of the staff cuts would be reconsidered if a 6.98-mill operating levy on the May 7 ballot is approved. Busing would be restored for students who live one mile or more from their schools if the levy is approved, according to Superintendent Dr. Joe Clark.
The levy would generate around $7 million for the schools and cost homeowners around $20 per $100,000 of their home’s value per month. A previous 6.98-mill continuing operating levy failed in November.
The school board on Monday unanimously approved agreements with the Nordonia Hills Educators Association and the Ohio Associate of Public School Employees Local 246 implementing a base salary freeze for the 2019-20 school year, regardless of whether the levy is approved. Officials say the freeze will save the district more than $200,000 per year.
Clark said in January that district administrators also would have base salaries frozen for 2019-20 regardless of the levy outcome. This will save the district $18,000.
He said all Nordonia employees previously had their base salaries frozen for three years, from 2010-11 to 2013-14.
“We have the most child focused, dedicated staff I’ve ever worked with,” Clark said. “They understand that the district is facing a looming deficit and are willing to forego a base salary increase to help keep available as many programs and opportunities for our kids as possible.”
In addition to the staff laid off, five additional positions are being cut through attrition with recent resignations, Clark said.
The NHEA represents the district’s 250 certified employees, which includes classroom teachers, counselors, psychologists, speech and language pathologists and the district librarian.
“The teachers of this district recognize the importance of the district remaining one of the best in Summit County,” NHEA president Nate Loman said in a statement. “We are proud to be a part of the Nordonia family and are willing to do our part to ensure that reputation continues.”
OAPSE Local 246 represents the district’s 204 classified employees, which includes administrative assistants, bookkeepers, food service workers, maintenance and custodial staff, student supervisors and classroom aides/paraprofessionals.
“As proud members of the Nordonia Schools family, we are and will always remain committed to the education of the students at Nordonia,” stated Amanda Coon, member of the OAPSE Negotiations Committee. “We feel that the positions our members hold are extremely important to the students we serve each and every day. We are proud to do our part to keep Nordonia recognized as a highly performing and competitive district, while keeping costs as low as possible, to benefit both our students and our communities.”
As part of the cost-cutting plan, the district previously approved increases in pay-to-participate fees for athletics and other extracurricular activities and a hike in tuition for all-day kindergarten. Next year, student fees for high school athletics are going from $230 to $280 per sport. Middle school athletic fees are rising from $115 to $140 per sport.
All-day kindergarten tuition will also increase from $2,200 to $2,700 per year.
District Treasurer Karen Obratil projects nearly a $50,000 revenue increase from the higher fees, and nearly an $80,000 boost from the higher kindergarten tuition.
Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @AprilKHelms_RPC