District undergoes security audit, reviews grant money

by Laura Bednar

Sept. 26 board of education meeting

In light of current events, Nordonia Hills Business Director Casey Wright said the district performed a security audit on all school buildings. Tim DelVecchio, a consultant for security services for the Ohio Schools Council, performed the audit. Wright said DelVecchio has 50 years of experience in security, 30 of which were as a member of the state highway patrol. He also worked as an organized crime adviser for the Organization For Security and Cooperation in Europe, consultant to United Nations leaders when investigating crime, and consultant with the Ohio Department of Homeland Security.

After reviewing the school’s existing security measures, DelVecchio said, “You’re definitely in my platinum club.”

The administration cannot detail everything in the audit document, which was presented in executive session. However, Wright outlined some of the areas in which the schools can improve. The first is open vestibules, which were created when the schools were built to allow people to easily walk in. The second is the large number of doors in the building, which Wright said require constant maintenance. DelVecchio said, “They are nearing the end of their life.”

On the positive side, Wright said staff members have been ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) trained and the district’s emergency plan is Ohio Department of Homeland Security approved.

DelVecchio added that the district’s decision to hire school resource officers is “a critical factor for school safety.” He also said it was impressive that there are four different police departments within the school’s jurisdiction and they all work well together.

The Nordonia Hills City Schools Board of Education approved the purchase of security cameras for Nordonia High School, Nordonia Middle School, Lee Eaton Intermediate, Rushwood and Northfield Elementary. The cost of the cameras and installation in all of the buildings is $192,279. Superintendent Dr. Joe Clark said the camera cost is covered by grant funds and he is hopeful the cameras will be installed by the end of October.

The board also approved a memorandum of understanding with Sagamore Hills, which will assign a police officer from the township’s department to be a school resource officer for Rushwood Elementary.

Grant review

Treasurer Matt Brown gave an overview of the grants the district has received. The district receives federal, state and local grants. Under the federal category, Nordonia received a $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for national school breakfast and lunch programs. The U.S Department of Treasury awarded a K-12 safety grant for $203,263 in August 2022. Nordonia also received a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities for $3,000.

According to Brown’s presentation, the district received a grand total of $4.7 million in COVID-related federal grants.

Brown said state grants are mainly awarded by the Ohio Department of Education. Nordonia received a $25,000 Parent Mentor Project Grant and a $10,800 K-12 Connectivity Grant.

Local grants are managed differently by each entity. Local entities offering grants include the Nordonia Schools Foundation and the Summit County ADM Board.

The school district has four grants still open. The first is Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund money, which was awarded as part of the American Rescue Plan and is available through Sept. 30, 2024. All of the money in this fund has been committed to COVID-related needs. ESSER ARP state activity funds are available through Sept. 30, 2023, and have also been committed to COVID-related needs.

Only 5% of the ARP Individuals with Disabilities Education Act funds have been committed to a project, and funds are available through Sept. 30, 2024. The K-12 school safety grant funds have not been committed to anything yet and are available through Dec. 31, 2023.

“The district plans to complete spending of all committed grant funds by the end of fiscal year 2022-23,” according to Brown.


Jim Virost, Cuyahoga Valley Career Center board member and representative for Nordonia Hills, said the number of Nordonia students taking classes at CVCC has increased over the past three years. There were 131 students enrolled during the 2020-21 school year, 151 students enrolled during the 2021-22 school year and 163 students enrolled for the current 2022-23 school year. ∞