Cleveland Heights–University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 8-4-2015

AUGUST 4, 2015

  • Public comments
  • New leadership course for Heights High
  • Five-year strategic plan
  • Board approvals
  • Construction design changes
  • Board president’s comments

All board members were present.

Public comment

Nursing staff salaries: A community member believes the salaries of the nursing staff is much higher than that of the public sector and other area schools. He compared salaries of other area school nurses, and feels district spending is out of control in nurses’ salaries.

Cost-cutting ideas: A community member gave suggestions to the board on cutting costs. These included not paying superintendents’ retirement, suspending some sports activities if there are no pool and practice courts, and covering all teachers for health care under the Affordable Care Act.

Metal detectors: Another community member asked why there were no metal detectors in the buildings. Board President Nancy Peppler commented that the buildings are safe and that the district does not plan to install them.

New leadership course for Heights High

The board approved the new course proposal, Leadership for Change for Heights High, for the 2015–16 school year. This course is being recommended to provide student leaders the structure, opportunity, resources and defined curriculum to develop leadership skills. Students enrolled in this one-credit, elective course would work to implement schoolwide service projects, orientation, social events, and mentoring opportunities with underclassmen. This course would help build a more positive, student-led culture and is needed to build the necessary skills in student leaders to help them facilitate a positive transition to Cleveland Heights High School on the Wiley campus.

Five-year strategic plan

The board approved the five-year strategic plan for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District after a presentation by Saroya Queen-Tabor, chairperson of the strategic planning committee, and Superintendent Talisa Dixon. Goals focusing on students, diversity, partnership and stewardship should be implemented by 2020. The strategic priorities include the elements of effectiveness, alignment and prioritization, feasibility and benefits, and costs, and should be measurable. The goals include:

  • Student outcomes: 90 percent of students would graduate in four years, and ninth-grade retention would be reduced. To achieve this are many action steps including online learning and access to grade-level material.
  • Educational approach: Strategies and steps are designed to close the achievement gap, promote higher expectations, provide staff development, ensure equity, provide a multi-tiered system of support for students, and provide early learning intervention for mathematics and literacy.
  • Parents and community engagement: Strategies to strengthen connections between parent groups and community groups would be established. Partnerships should be expanded and community assets explored with multiple communication options.
  • Valued professionals and culture of excellence: Strategies include an employee code of conduct, which was read by Superintendent Dixon at the meeting; efforts to seek diversity in a highly qualified staff; exit interviews for employees who depart the system; a high level of accuracy in reporting data; provision of professional development, performance standards, and provision of equipment and technology tools for the staff.
  • Operational resources: Strategies include using non-school facilities, implementing the present facilities plan, reducing the district’s energy consumption and solid waste, ensuring a healthy indoor air quality, evaluating non-instruction staff, increasing technology with upgraded speeds, increasing grants awarded, updating safety and security, and being transparent with the community on expenditures.

Ron Register, board vice president, asked that this strategic plan document have a glossary for convenience.

Board approvals

The board approved the following recommendations:

  • The site work, concrete, structural steel and precast materials, at a total cost of $10,732,333. This is on budget.
  • The cooperative purchasing agreement from the Ohio Schools Council, which will enable the board to purchase some items at a discount.
  • The Lake Erie Education Media Consortium Agreement from the Ohio Schools Council.
  • The Cleveland Heights High School reconstruction project design development phase documents.
  • The lease agreement between the Board of Education and E.M.O.D. LLC, the modular company for the football field modular units.

Construction design changes

After meeting with staff, the facilities architects made modifications in the reconstruction project design phase document. Administration space will be on every floor. The cosmetology space was modified for building access, and the music and business areas were modified.

Board president’s comments

Nancy Peppler, board president, commented on the decision to delay the levy proposal. She said cuts would be painful, but necessary. She is pleased with the strategic planning committee proposal. She announced the Wiley open house on Aug. 20.

LWV Observer: Lillian Houser.

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 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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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 9:33 AM, 08.17.2015