Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 6-2-2015

JUNE 2, 2015

  • Awards and recognitions
  • Public comments
  • Leadership for Change
  • NEOLA policies
  • Preschool rates
  • London field trip
  • Cleveland Clinic mobile unit
  • Heights High renovation
  • Transportation stipend to private schools
  • Donations
  • Heights High news
  • District’s finance needs

All board members were present.

Awards and recognitions

Board President Nancy Peppler and Superintendent Talisa Dixon recognized student art award recipients, district retirees, and three award-winning educators: Sandy Womack, Hollis Munoz and Joyce Bukovac. They announced that Roxboro Middle School has been named an authorized IB (International Baccalaureate) school and all staff members have been trained.

Public comments

School calendar: Parent Kevin Hoffman expressed disappointment that the pending change to align the district’s preschool program with the school calendar was not publicly discussed, nor were affected parents consulted.

Heights High Technical Director: Student Akasha Bartlett presented a petition with 485 signatures requesting that the recently eliminated position of Heights High technical director be restored because of its importance to events that take place in the Heights High auditorium. The position was eliminated due to budget cuts. The superintendent responded to Bartlett’s request, stating that the stage crew will not be eliminated, and that the district is working with the teachers’ union to redesign the position.

Standardized testing: Leslie Karpinski of Heights Coalition for Public Education reported that the coalition has made a video of Cleveland Heights-University Heights students describing the emotional impacts they feel as a result of standardized testing. The coalition would like to work with the district to solve problems associated with standardized testing.

Levy: Resident Garry Kanter urged the district not to put a levy request on the November 2015 ballot because voters rejected the May levy. Resident Charles Drake complained about the number of levies passed since he graduated in the 1970s and suggested paying the superintendent and the treasurer less.

Vouchers: Charles Drake suggested that the district notify parents of students who are eligible for educational choice vouchers to attend non-district schools.

Cheerleading squad: Rosalyn Hampton reported that Heights High administrators have not responded to her requests to discuss her daughter’s termination from the cheerleading squad.

Leadership for Change

The superintendent presented on first reading the 2015–16 New Course Proposal-Leadership for Change for Heights High.

NEOLA policies

The board approved the updated NEOLA Policies.

Preschool rates

The board approved preschool rates for 2015–16. Board President Peppler asked about parent fees. According to Treasurer Scott Gainer, the district subsidizes the preschool program with 30 percent of its cost supported by outside sources, including parent fees. Preschool program offerings will not change when the calendar is adjusted to align with the school calendar.

London field trip

The board approved a February 2016 field trip to London for students in the Delisle Options Center Alternative Program. Participating students will pay the entire cost [of the trip].

Cleveland Clinic mobile unit

Jeffrey Johnston, student services director, reported an agreement, soon to be presented to the board, whereby a Cleveland Clinic mobile unit will come to the district once a week to provide medical services to students. Clinic medical staff will help students manage chronic conditions like asthma or frequent stomachaches, possibly provide sports exams, and help connect students with needed medical care. Students will be referred by school nurses, and written parental consent will be required. Parents or their insurance, including that provided by the Affordable Care Act, will be billed for service. Nancy Peppler suggested that the agreement include educational opportunities for high school students in Allied Health Care Options.

Heights High renovation

The board approved the following items related to the Heights High renovation: the guaranteed maximum price, which is within budget, for demolition and salvaging; the auto tech program’s move to the Delisle Center; the use of modular units to temporarily store athletic equipment; the lease of a surface lot, across Miramar Boulevard from Wiley, for staff parking; and the lease of the weight room at New Song Church, housed in the former Severance Athletic Club, for use by Heights students.

Transportation stipend to private schools

Steve Shergalis, director of business services, explained criteria that allow a public school district to provide a stipend to a private school in lieu of providing transportation for its students. These include the number of the school’s students using the transportation, the time required, and the extent of disruption to the district’s own transportation schedule. The State of Ohio sets the stipend amount, it impacts few private school students, and it saves the district money. The board approved such payments in lieu of transportation to Julie Billiart, Hawken, University, Laurel and Agnon schools.

Donations

The board accepted donations, ranging from $5,217 to $73.49, to the Jason D. West Memorial Scholarship Fund, Parker Hannifin Scholarship Fund, Ruth E. Friedman Scholarship Fund, Samuel Appleton Auto Tech Scholarship Fund, Canterbury Elementary School, Heights High, Heights High’s Athletic Department, the Delisle Options Center, Gearity Professional Development School, Roxboro Elementary School, and Roxboro Middle School. The board also approved a correction to attribute a donation accepted on May 4 for the Jason D. West Scholarship Fund to fundraisers by Lita Gonzalez.

Heights High news

Board Member Eric Silverman reported that this year the Alumni Foundation awarded more than $37,000 in scholarships to graduating Heights High students, and that Heights High’s graduation on June 1 was one of the best he has ever attended. He also reported on the possibility that The Black and Gold student newspaper will be re-instituted.

District’s finance needs

Board President Peppler reported that the strategic planning process and the search for budget savings would continue. She stated that, in spite of the levy failure in May, the district needs additional resources because of Ohio’s school funding system; board members must provide those resources because of their oath to educate the students of the district.

LWV Observer: Nancy Dietrich.

These meeting summaries are abstracted from LWV observers’ written reports. The summaries have been edited and prepared by Anne McFarland, Charlene Morse and Maryann Barnes. To receive e-mail postings of full reports, send an e-mail to mbarnes9515@gmail.com or join through Google groups using “lwv-chuh observer reports” as a search phrase.

These reports contain member observation and selected highlights of public meetings and are not official statements of the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland. This disclaimer must accompany any redistribution of these reports.

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