Following last week’s overwhelming defeat of the Issue 44, North Canton City Schools Superintendent Jeff Wendorf told school board members and those gathered at Tuesday’s school board meeting that district leaders plan to hear from the community on what steps to take next.

NORTH CANTON  Residents in the North Canton City School District should know in January whether the district plans to once again pursue a tax issue to overhaul school facilities and boost its operating income.

Following last week’s overwhelming defeat of the district's proposed bond issue and earned income tax, Superintendent Jeff Wendorf told school board members and those gathered at Tuesday’s school board meeting that district leaders continue to regroup.

“The district will take a step back, listen to our community, gather input, develop a next approach, implement some reductions in expenditures and take the next step and make a determination in the coming month or so on what to do next other than just reduce expenditures,” he said.

When asked after the board meeting how the district plans to hear from the community, Wendorf said he plans to ask some residents to participate on a financial advisory council that will discuss whether the district should seek a new tax issue, other ways it could generate additional revenue and possible reductions.

Beyond funding the district's $74.4 million portion of its $108.4 million facilities project, Issue 44 also would have generated $4.4 million a year to boost and stabilize school operating funds. The district has cut roughly $300,000 from this school year's operating budget and must decide how to cut nearly $2 million before next school year.

“Unfortunately, the need doesn’t change,” Wendorf said.

If the district chooses to place a tax issue on the May primary election ballot, the school board would need to begin the process of getting the issue certified for the ballot by passing a resolution in January.

In other business, the school board:

– Accepted the retirements of Alberta Bowman, a government teacher who has worked at North Canton schools for 18 of her 32 years in education; Kathy Remmele, first-grade Cleamount Elementary teachers who has worked at North Canton for 19 of her 30 years in education; secretary Kim Mulheim, who has spent her 30-year career at North Canton. Bowman and Remmele will retire at the end of the school year, while Mulheim’s retirement is effective March 31.

– Accepted a $500 donation from an anonymous donor to be used to help students who need lunch money, to help get lunch accounts out of delinquent status, to provide food during school hours to students in need and to provide adequate nutrition to students due to an illness.

– Hired Akron-based Guided Transitions for Supported Individuals for up to $42,500 to provide educational services and transportation for a student with special needs who recently had a change of placement.

– Purchased a 2017 Ford F-250 truck from AutoNation Ford North Canton for $27,749. Wendorf said the district needs to replace two vehicles but it is delaying the purchase of the second vehicle due to the need to cut costs following the defeat of the levy.

– Approved a resolution in support of state Senate Bill 216, which is being considered by the senate’s Education Committee. The legislation, named the Ohio Public School Deregulation Act, would roll back nearly 100 mandates and regulations that public schools are required to follow. It would reduce the number of state mandated tests, give superintendents flexibility on evaluating and assigning teachers, remove an additional training requirement for teachers instructing gifted children, allow districts to choose paper and pencil testing, and would split the textbook costs for College Credit Plus classes between the district and the student, except for students from poor households who would not be charged and home-school students who would be responsible for all of their textbook costs.

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