Community asked to voice opinions on state budget bill

by Laura Bednar

June 26 board of education meeting

Nordonia Hills Board of Education member Liz McKinley outlined issues with House Bill 33 that, if passed, she said would negatively impact public schools.

She criticized the bill because legislators are not fully funding the 80% of Ohio children who attend public schools before increasing funding for the 10% of students who attend private schools.

She added, “We need to request that legislators protect all students, families and Ohio taxpayers by requiring private schools receiving taxpayer dollars to have the same assessments, report cards, financial reporting and audits as public schools.”

The Senate’s version of the bill would retain the third-grade reading guarantee, “a program to identify students from kindergarten through grade 3 who are behind in reading,” according to the Ohio Department of Education. McKinley said the third grade retention practice was not supported by research before being enacted in Ohio. Students are required to pass a test to move to fourth grade, and McKinley said the mandatory retention provision in the bill should be eliminated. By not mandating that students be held back, McKinley said parents would have a say in their child’s progression.

The Senate version of House Bill 33 includes provisions from Senate Bill 1, which will “undermine the role and authority of the elected members of the state board of education,” said McKinley. The bill would shift the board’s responsibilities to an appointee of the governor and include developing state academic standards, establishing state report cards and standardized assessments and adoption of minimum education standards for elementary and secondary schools, according to Columbus-based legal firm Graff & McGovern.

McKinley said community members should contact legislators to express their feelings on the bill.

Student success

Nordonia High School softball player Jensen Stehlik was nominated for 2022-23 Student Athlete of the Year. The award, according to softball coach Marissa Rizzo, is given to players who exemplify leadership, support of teammates and good sportsmanship.

Rizzo explained that Jensen sustained an injury early in the season and was unable to play for the remainder of the season. However, she did not miss a practice or game and helped coach her younger teammates. Her level of support earned her the nomination.

The following students qualified for the state track meet: Rachel Dudich, Tamia Hameed, Alexis Hives and Sade Lewis.

In other action

The district entered into an agreement with Profant Inc. for the purchase and installation of Verkada security cameras and door controllers in all six school buildings for $249,230. The cost is covered through an Ohio K-12 safety grant.

Board members approved the renewal of the district’s liability, fleet, property, violence, pollution and cyber security insurance coverage through June 30, 2024 for $130,824. Director of Business Casey Wright said the costs are about a $24,000 increase because this was Nordonia’s year for a reappraisal of costs.

The board also approved a $1.37 million fund transfer from the general fund to the permanent improvement fund. Treasurer Matt Brown said this was a portion of funds from the MGM Northfield Park tax settlement. ∞