District orders architectural design for possible HHS Orchestra addition, looks to recover property taxes

by Judy Stringer

March 18 school board meeting

The Hudson City School District moved one step closer to a major overhaul of the high school’s performing arts classrooms with board approval of an architectural contract with Akron-based GPD Group.

Last April, Superintendent Dana Addis told the board his team was “fully engaged” in plans to renovate these spaces with early discussions about upgrading the current band and choir rooms and/or the possibility of building a new orchestra room onto the building.

Assistant Superintendent Doreen Osmun noted at the time that having a dedicated orchestra room, which Hudson High School does not have currently, was something that came out of focus group discussions when the district was preparing for construction of the new middle school.

At the March 18 meeting, Osmun said the GDP contract is “one more milestone” in this project. She said the firm will “engage teachers and administrators” in conversations about the performing arts needs and possible improvements and prepare architectural renderings.

The school board also approved four separate resolutions intended to begin the process of challenging valuations on commercial properties in the district. Each of the four properties recently sold at a price that allows the district to attempt to recover additional property taxes based on a significantly higher market value than county appraisals.

Treasurer Phil Butto said Ohio House Bill 126 requires the district to pass a resolution and inform property owners of the complaint before it is filed with a board of revision. Because an attorney prepared the resolutions, the law represents a new cost burden on the district and taxpayers, he said. That law also doesn’t allow school districts to file complaints on commercial properties appraised at less than $535,000.

“There’s a lot of businesses that have property values less than $535,000, so we can’t argue a fair value for their property because they fall under that threshold,” he said. “That means that the tax burden shifts again. Again, it shifts from the commercial property owners to the residents. The residents will pay higher taxes because of this law.”

Winter sports update

As part of his regular athletic report, Athletic Director Mike Chuppa provided a breakdown of the winter sports season. Among the highlights:

  • Hudson earned one Suburban League championship – Boys swimming.
  • Three students were named Suburban League Athletes of the Year.
  • Two coaches were named Suburban Coaches of the Year.
  • 14 students qualified for state competitions with six All-Ohio selections and one All-American selection. ∞