Treasurer advises board begin levy planning

by Judy Stringer

Nov. 21 board of education meeting

Hudson City School District Treasurer and CFO Phil Butto suggested school board members begin drawing up plans for the timing of a new operating levy request. 

During his five-year forecast presentation, Butto said current spending is outpacing revenue and eating into the district’s cash balance. The forecast suggests the balance will shrink from $29.2 million at the end of 2023 to $6 million by the end of 2027.

“As treasurer, I would be shirking my duty if I if I didn’t recommend to this board the immediate planning for a future levy,” he said.

Butto’s forecast shows a $2.1 million spending deficit in fiscal year 2023, with $69.7 million in proceeds versus $71.8 million in disbursements. That widens to $7.4 million by 2027, if no new levy is passed, with revenue of $74.9 million and expenses of $82.3 million.

Spiraling health care costs is among the biggest contributor to rising expenses. The district is self-insured, Butto said, and health care accounts for two-thirds of the benefits line item, which was $14.7 million in 2020 and is to grow by more than 50% to $22.2 million in 2027. 

“This is one of those items that moves the needle on forecast quite a bit,” he said.

The district is investigating a new prescription management plan that may help bring down those costs, according to Butto. 

In addition, he said, administrators are “seeking the advice of an actuary to better help us predict some of these swings in the future” and plans to educate employees on how “to more efficiently use their health care plan.”

Later in the meeting, Director of Operations Tom Barone recommended the board approve a 25% increase in medical insurance premiums, paid by the district and employees, as a result of the escalating health care cost. The board voted in favor of that resolution.

Butto, during his presentation, noted a few other factors related to a gloomy forecast. Those include “shockingly high” increases to purchased services – such as tuition Hudson pays for students who attend specialized learning programs – and property tax refunds to commercial and residential property owners who contested the latest reappraised valuations.  

But he concluded on a positive note, saying the district has “a strong tax base” and has gone 13 years without a new operating levy.

Of the latter, he said, “this is a feather in our cap, and this goes well before me to the wise financial decisions made by this board and previous administrations.”


The board also approved an undisclosed settlement with former student Nathaniel Trost. Trost filed a $25,000 personal injury suit against the district earlier this year, stemming from an injury he incurred while he was a student at Hudson High School and working on the set of a drama club production.

Trost’s filing states that he was asked to cut a piece of lumber by Drama Coach Bob Russell without being properly trained to use Russell’s miter saw, which had a dull saw blade. Those factors, according to the claim, resulted in “severe lacerations” to Trost’s right index finger and “permanent deformation and nerve damage, mental and physical pain and suffering, aggravation, inconvenience, grief, restrictions on activities, employment under duress, lost wages and loss of enjoyment of life.”

The suit was referred to mediation and settled out of court.

Parents of the Year

The Ohio Middle Level Association named Hudson residents Kristin Stoehr and Lauren Unke its 2022 Parents of the Year. The annual award is bestowed on parents who make “significant contributions of time, service and leadership” to a school, according to the organization’s website.

Superintendent Dana Addis read the nomination letter that highlights Stoehr and Unke’s longtime leadership of Hudson PTO’s Right to Read program. The duo connected students to guest authors, it said, and created a reading partnership between Hudson and Akron Public Schools students.

“They also secured funding so that 1,200 Akron students, many of which are refugees, received their own copies of the author’s books,” the nomination read.

Sports recap

Athletic Director Mike Chuppa provided a fall sports recap.

  • The girls cross-country team was Suburban League champions and finished fourth at the district meet and eighth at regionals.
  • The boys cross-country team was Suburban League runner-up, finished seventh at the district meet and 19th at regionals.
  • The field hockey team finished the fall with a 14-4-1 record and was second place in the Northeast Ohio Field Hockey League and regional runner-up.
  • The football team went undefeated in the regular season and was Suburban League champion and a regional finalist.
  • The girls golf team was 7-1 in dual match play, runner-up in the Suburban League, qualified for district play and turned in the lowest score (308) in school history.
  • The boys golf team was Suburban League and sectional champions.
  • The girls soccer team finished the season with a 13-5-2 record, 4-2 in the Suburban League, was district champion and regional semi-finalist.
  • The boys soccer team went 19-2-1 and was Suburban League champion with 6-0, district champion and regional runner-up.
  • The girls tennis team was 16-4 overall and Suburban League Tournament champion.
  • The girls volleyball team was 18-8 overall, Suburban League champion, district champion and regional semi-finalist. ∞