Norton board reviews levy request, students honored

Norton Students of the Month for April are recognized by the Board of Education. From left to right, back row are Madison McKeown, Ashley Renner, Allison Savoia, Emma Cart and Isaac Bates. The back row are Trenton Tomcik, Superintendent Dana Addis and Shawn Evilsizer.

Jim Eritano

Herald Staff Writer

The urgent financial condition of the Norton City School District was the main topic of conversation at the Norton Board of Education’s April meeting at the high school.

Board president Jennifer Bennett took time in the early part of the meeting to talk about the 3.9 mil levy on the May 8 ballot and the school finances presentation April 16 in the Norton High School cafeteria.

“The presentation will cover home values and school financing,” Bennett said. “There will be a computer set up where you can enter your home address and it will tell you exactly what the levy’s cost will be.”

Bennett reminded those in attendance that the district was audited in 2016.

“The auditors were here for five months,” she said. “They spent five months going over our finances, and found nothing wrong. No mishandling of funds. You can ask Stephanie (Hagenbush, treasurer).”

“Our district has been operating on the same 1.9 mil levy since 2012,” Bennett continued. “and we have cut $300,000 from our budget.”

In her comments later, board member Cindy Webel said that after the 2016 audit, the auditors compared Norton to other districts. 

“They had to go out of Summit County to find a comparable district. No one else does what we do here,” Webel said. 

A comparison chart on the Norton Schools website shows Norton residents pay $1,327 per $100,000 value, less than those in 17 other districts from Akron ($1,884 per $100,000 value) to 17th-ranked Copley-Fairlawn ($1,344 per $100,000 value). Barberton property owners pay $1,753.

The board recognized the student winners in the Mary Klasa – My City, My School Art Contest and Students of the Month, after which 38th Ohio House District candidate Bill Roemer spoke during the public participation portion of the meeting. 

In other business, the board passed a resolution requesting the Summit County fiscal officer to certify the total current tax valuation of the school district and the dollar amount of revenue that would be generated by an additional levy. Webel explained the resolution was needed for the next ballot if voters reject the  levy on the May 8 ballot.

The board also passed a resolution authorizing the sale of the Grill School property.

“The money from this sale won’t make our problems go away,” Bennet said. “It can’t be used for operating; it’s just no longer necessary for any school purposes.”

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