New scholarship fund aims to cover kindergarten tuition

by Laura Bednar

April 17 board of education meeting

A new program called Nordonia SGO has been created to award scholarships to all-day kindergarten students, with priority given to low-income families.

Nordonia SGO is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and has been certified by the Ohio Attorney General’s office as a qualified scholarship granting organization.

Nordonia Hills Board of Education President Chad Lahrmer said that Ohio created a scholarship granting organization in 2021. A tax credit is available under the Ohio Revised Code for qualified donations to an SGO. The credit is equal to the cash donation up to $750 for an individual or $1,500 for a married couple.

Nordonia SGO is one of 48 state-certified SGOs and is the first and only public school SGO to receive certification.

When someone makes a contribution to the scholarship fund, the Nordonia SGO will send a thank you letter recognizing the donation. The donor can attach the letter to his or her 2023 tax return and receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for the donation. It is not a tax reduction. Lahrmer explained that a taxpayer is redirecting a portion of their taxes to the Nordonia schools.

“The goal is to collect enough funds to cover the cost of all-day kindergarten tuition for all Nordonia students,” he said.

For the 2021-22 school year, Nordonia collected $337,000 in kindergarten tuition. If 450 people donated $750, that would entirely fund kindergarten tuition, according to Lahrmer. Nordonia residency is not required to donate.

Scholarship application forms will be available to every family that registers for kindergarten. More information, including donor forms and scholarship applications, can be found on the Nordonia SGO Facebook page or at

Lahrmer said after kindergarten tuition is fully funded, Nordonia SGO plans to explore funding for consumable and academic-related fees.

Fees and purchases

The board approved contracts with Womer Roofing Company to replace portions of the roofs at Northfield Elementary School and Nordonia Middle School, and with TeamCraft Roofing for portions of roof replacement at Northfield Elementary and Rushwood Elementary. Total cost for all roof projects is $1.9 million.

Pay to participate fees for extra/co-curricular activities and Nordonia High School academic fees for the 2023-24 school year were also approved. Matt Kearney was the sole dissenting vote for both extra curricular and academic fees. He said these fees are a big concern for families with multiple children in the district.

“I would absolutely love to see a reduction in [these fees] even if we can get it as a graduated reduction … and look to cut spending in other areas to cover some of this,” he said.

“We can’t afford at this point to scale back these fees,” said Superintendent Dr. Joe Clark. “This recommendation keeps the [pay to participate] fees the same they’ve been the last couple years.” ∞