Interim superintendent elected permanent chief

by Laura Bednar

Dec. 18 board of education meeting

Casey Wright, interim superintendent since October, was unanimously appointed superintendent for the Nordonia Hills School District.

Nordonia Hills Board of Education President Chad Lahrmer said search firm Finding Leaders presented information to the board from 11 community focus groups, which “made it very clear that Mr. Wright is extremely well-respected in our community and with our staff.” Lahrmer added that the board looks forward to Wright’s leadership and vision for the district.

Wright started his career as an associate principal in the district. He then served as Nordonia High School principal for 13 years and director of business affairs in 2022 before becoming interim superintendent.

“This is a natural progression for you. You’ve proven over the course of 15 years the level of your character and the level of your commitment,” said board member Liz McKinley.

“I want to share with the community that we have a lot of work to do,’’ said Wright. “We need to come together to make Nordonia the best possible school district we can be. The question for us is: ‘Where can we take this place to?’ We all have to be in this together.”


Board members voted to place a 5-mill levy on the March 2024 ballot. Treasurer Kyle Kiffer said the levy would generate $7.3 million annually. Four mills would be used for operations and one mill would be used for permanent improvements, which breaks down into $5.8 million and $1.47 million, respectively.

Lahrmer said the levy will cost each community property owner $175 per $100,000 of Summit County appraised value. He said the levy will keep the district ahead of things “so that we’re not getting to a point where we are cutting.”

He added that at the end of 2025, the bond issue to pay for building improvements in the early 2000s will expire, and the 2.4 mills property owners pay will disappear.

Said board member Jason Tidmore, “Once we certify to move forward, the community will let us know if they are in agreement with us.”

Added board member Matt Kearney, “I don’t have enough information before me to say yes or no.”

He said the board must address when another operating levy will be necessary and how passage would affect the percentage of community members’ school taxes.

Another point of concern for him was getting data from the district facilities review. In July, the board hired Ameresco Asset Sustainability Group to examine each building in the district to determine what infrastructure projects should take priority.

“If that comes back with a tremendous amount of need, what we’re asking for may not be enough,” Kearney said.

Lahrmer said he thinks the Ameresco report will show that much work is needed but “we have to start somewhere.”

Lahrmer, McKinley, Tidmore and Amy Vajdich voted in favor of the levy and Kearney abstained.

Roofing projects

TeamCraft Roofing will replace roofing at Rushwood Elementary for $615,180. Champion Roofing will replace roofing at Northfield Elementary School for $252,642, Lee Eaton Intermediate School for $164,650 and at Nordonia High School for $151,038. The district has experience with both vendors. Anticipated completion is August 2024.

Kindergarten tuition

The board approved kindergarten tuition for the 2024-25 school year. The cost will be $2,900 for full-time kindergarten, $2,175 for students who qualify for reduced lunch and $1,450 for students who qualify for the free lunch program.

Tuition is $100 more than last year. Wright said tuition would increase $100 each year for three years, and the 2024-25 rates apply to year two.

Lahrmer noted that the nonprofit Nordonia Scholarship Granting Organization exceeded $40,000 in 2023, which provided 15 full scholarships for all-day kindergarten students. Those who donate to Nordonia SGO are given a tax credit equal to the cash donation up to $750 for an individual or $1,500 for a married couple. ∞