NORTHFIELD CENTER — The Nordonia Hills City Schools will have to find a way to make up for a $1 million shortfall from this year’s fiscal budget due to budget cuts from the state.

On May 5, Gov. Mike DeWine announced $775 million in reductions to Ohio’s General Revenue Fund for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020 which ends on June 30.

"Nordonia Hills City Schools will be losing $1,019,403 due to the budget reductions made by Governor DeWine in May," said Treasurer Karen Obratil. "This will be an immediate loss of revenue beginning May 22. We will lose all of the State foundation money until we meet the reduction amount of $1,019,403 sometime next fiscal year. Obviously, this will have a devastating financial impact on the district since it was unplanned."

Obratil said that the district’s administrators are working together to reduce their budgets for next school year "due to this significant revenue loss." Their recommendations are due in June, she added.

Obratil said that the per pupil reduction amounts to $289 per student. The rationale from the state, she added, is that Nordonia Hills "has a higher capacity to access resources locally."

At the end of February and prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, state revenues for the fiscal year were ahead of estimates by more than $200 million, according to information provided by the governor’s office. As of the end of April, Ohio’s revenues were below the budgeted estimates by $776.9 million.

The governor stated that the following budget reductions will be made over the next two months:

• Medicaid: $210 million

• K12 Foundation Payment Reduction: $300 million

• Other Education Budget Line Items: $55 million

• Higher Education: $110 million

• All Other Agencies: $100 million

The budget reductions are in addition to DeWine’s March 23 directive to freeze hiring, new contracts, pay increases, and promotions at all state agencies, boards, and commissions.

Alternative calendar proposed

Just in case the district’s students are not back in school full-time in the 2020-21 school year, an alternate school calendar has been created.

The school board approved this backup calendar at its May 18 meeting, which, if it is the one the district ultimately uses, will have the school year start Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day, and would end May 28, the Friday before Memorial Day, said Superintendent Joe Clark.

"I think having a calendar that has us start later is better," Clark said. "There’s a chance that we could all come back by then. Even if we don’t, if we have to go with a hybrid model, it can give us more time to prepare."

Clark added the alternate calendar would reduce the number of student days, but that the days teachers would work would remain the same. He stressed that the vote by the school was not to replace the original calendar right now, but to have it in place just in case.

"I will announce no later than June 30 which calendar the district will use," Clark said. "If the direction from the state is still unclear on June 30, the alternative calendar will be implemented."

Under the original calendar, school would resume Aug. 20, and the 2020-21 school year would end May 27.

This school year ends June 2.

April Helms can be reached at ahelms@recordpub.com