LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights [online 3-1-2016]

MARCH 1, 2016

  • Awards and recognitions
  • Public address
  • Strategic plan update
  • District calendar
  • Field trips
  • Revival of Heights High’s student newspaper
  • Facility design documents
  • Soil issue requires change order
  • Lease agreement
  • Donations
  • SuperKids
  • Legislative issues
  • James Cippolletti

All board members were present.  

Awards and recognitions

Aliya Holmes, a pharmacy tech student, was recognized as career tech student of the month; and cosmetology was recognized as the program of the month.

Public address

Citizen input to facilities project: Seku Shabazz, on behalf of himself and some other citizens, requested an opportunity to give input to the facilities project currently underway. He will be put in touch with the Facilities Advisory Committee.

Preserving school architecture: Deanna Bremer Fisher, a former member of the Lay Facilities Committee, expressed concern that the architectural plans shown at a recent presentation of the middle schools facilities project do not preserve the historic character of the current buildings, particularly at Roxboro Middle School. She reminded the board that the most sustainable building is the one that is already built. Fisher specifically cautioned against losing the context with Roxboro Elementary School; changing the character of the auditorium; and discouraging use of the front door.

Query about Fairfax principal: A father of a Fairfax Elementary School student stated that taxpayers should know the reason for the Fairfax principal being placed on administrative leave. He was told to contact the superintendent’s office to request a meeting.

Strategic plan update

As part of the strategic plan update, the district adopted core math and English curricula and a research-based ESL (English as a Second Language) curriculum. In 2016-17, a full-day preschool program will be offered at Noble Elementary School for three- and four-year-olds, and at Oxford Elementary School for four- and five-year-olds. Classroom access to current technology will be increased, with new devices for the first time in all elementary school buildings, and new wireless technology installed. All buildings are in compliance with [Department of] Homeland Security regulations, four months ahead of schedule.

District calendar

The district calendar committee, comprising the teachers’ union president, administrators, school board members, and parents, has met several times. Two committee goals are to establish a consistent spring vacation, and to have a more natural break between first and second semesters. The committee recommends beginning the school year five days earlier to be in line with Shaker Heights schools and other area communities; and closing earlier in the spring. Board Member James Posch expressed displeasure with the fact that the school year has to start earlier in order to accommodate the testing schedule. The calendar will allow for nine calamity days. Professional development days will be more sensibly aligned. The committee’s recommended calendar will be posted on the school’s website for the next 30 days and community input accepted. The board will act at its first meeting in April.

Field trips

The following field trips were approved:

  • Heights High students to the Ohio DECA Competition in Columbus, March 18–20
  • Heights High girls’ lacrosse team to Philadelphia and New York City, March 24–30
  • Monticello Middle School eighth-grade student leaders to the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center in Peninsula, Ohio, May 17–20

Revival of Heights High student newspaper

Heights High’s student newspaper, The Black and Gold, is being revived as an extracurricular activity. Courtney White is the adviser and approximately twenty students are participating. It is currently in digital format only, but plans for a print version are underway.

Facility design documents

The board approved the most recent design/construction documents as presented by Pat O’Brien, owner’s representative for the high school facilities project. Board members said they were impressed at the board tour of the site.

Soil issue requires change order

The board approved a change order for $379,221, which was required because soil not meeting compaction requirements for a building foundation was found and must be replaced. The unsuitable soil will be used for another purpose on the site, perhaps a baseball field. Board Vice President Ronald Register said that he expected soil sampling to have been completed earlier, and was bothered that the change order was presented for board approval after some of the replacement work had already begun. Posch suggested re-thinking the approval process before the middle school phase begins, to decrease the need for change orders. Board President Kal Zucker suggested more study of old architectural drawings and documents to determine what lies beneath the ground. He emphasized that there were geotechnical and structural engineers on the team.

Lease agreement

The board authorized a lease agreement with the Warrensville Heights School District for use of basketball courts during construction at Heights High.


Donations were accepted for Heights High, the Delisle Options Center, and Boulevard, Canterbury, and Fairfax Elementary Schools in amounts ranging from $150 to $4,071.26.


The board approved $84,000 to purchase SuperKids materials for all elementary schools, after a pilot use showed them to be successful.

Legislative issues

Register, who will attend a legislative liaison meeting on March 16 in Columbus, believes the board should be more active in efforts to influence legislation. Posch expressed concern that charter schools have fewer state regulations imposed on them than public schools, yet strong lobbyists to help them secure state funds. Register said that a regional board of superintendents is being formed to discuss how public schools can better influence legislation and the allocation of state funding.

James Cippolletti

James Cippoletti, former Wiley principal and former Heights High interim principal, recently passed away.

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.


League of Women Voters

Observer Corps editor for the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland

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