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Nordonia Hills School Board asks for $3.8 million reimbursement from the state

by Briana Barker | Reporter Published: August 24, 2016 12:00 AM
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Nordonia Hills -- The School Board voted unanimously Aug. 22 to ask for nearly $3.8 million from the state of Ohio to reimburse the district for funding the district says it has lost to charter schools.

The resolution authorizes Treasurer Karen Obratil to invoice the state of Ohio for deductions taken from the district's annual funding based on students attending charter schools from 2002 to 2016.

Superintendent Dr. Joe Clark in an Aug. 22 press release said the Nordonia Hills City School District receives about $1,264 per pupil in state aid.

"Yet, an average of just over $6,925 is deducted from our state aid for each student who leaves our district to attend a charter school," Clark said. "In essence then, for every student who leaves Nordonia to attend a charter school in our state, there are five resident Nordonia students for whom we receive no state funding. Nordonia currently has 49 students attending Ohio charter schools."

School Board President Tammy Strong said the School Board has no expectation the invoice will be paid, as the state has not responded to requests from other districts asking the state for the same reimbursement. She said the Board sees the measure as a way to fight for the interests of students and community members.

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Clark said the resolution shows the School Board is looking out for the fiscal interests of the district.

School Board member Liz McKinley said charter schools are largely failing in Ohio due in part to having "little to no regulation whatsoever." She added House Bill 2 has established some guidelines but said they are "weak."

"We're talking Ds and Fs. Some of these schools are online; some are brick and mortar," she added.

The resolution calls the charter school system a "secondary 'public' schools system" that has less control, oversight and regulation than public school systems. According to the resolution, the Nordonia Hills City Schools has no control over charter school students, financing, educational programming, student outcomes or performance. The resolution also states the charter schools "as a group in Ohio demonstrate exceedingly low academic performance compared to traditional public schools."

In addition to costing the district $3.8 million over the last 12 years, federal funds were supposed to be released by the U.S. Department of Education in September but are now on hold due to "documented fraud and corruption in Ohio charter schools" according to the resolution.

The School Board agreed the loss of money has reduced programs and services to Nordonia Hills students.

A copy of the district treasurer's invoice is to be sent to Gov. John Kasich, President of the Ohio Senate Keith Faber (R-Celina), Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Wilmington), State Senate District 27 Rep. Frank LaRose (R-Copley) and to the district's house representatives, District 37 Rep. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) and District 38 Rep. Marilyn Slaby (R-Copley).

Briana Barker: 330-541-9432


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