Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 3-7-2017

MARCH 7, 2017

  • Early childhood staff
  • Public comments
  • Superintendent’s advisory task force
  • Board classroom visits
  • Policy changes
  • Field trips
  • Facilities renovation change orders
  • Facility use fees
  • Board president’s comments
  • FAC discussion
  • Funds diverted to charter schools
  • Reaching Heights Spelling Bee

Board members Ron Register, Kal Zucker, Jim Posch, Eric Silverman and Beverly Wright were present, as were Talisa Dixon, superintendent, and Scott Gainer, treasurer.

The meeting opened at 7:08 p.m., preceded by an executive session, and ended at 8:58 p.m.

Early childhood staff

Superintendent Dixon recognized the early childhood team, operating at Noble and Gearity Elementary schools and headed by Danielle Bee, for earning a five-star rating, the highest, in the Step Up to Quality program.

Public comments

A resident asked about contract negotiations, but the board could not answer because negotiations are in progress. She commented that teachers should be financially rewarded as well as administrators are.

Superintendent’s advisory task force

Dixon reported that a superintendent’s advisory task force has been formed to create a culture of shared responsibility between the schools and the community. The first meeting will be on April 12.

Board classroom visits

Dixon urged board members to make site visits to at least three district schools and talk to staff and students so as to be able to give input on improving student outcomes at the March 21 work session.

Policy changes

The board approved the removal of Board Policy 3143, regarding administrative contract renewal, as it is outdated and has already been replaced. It recommended approval of a resolution with the Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County for the 2017–18 and 2018–19 school years.

Field trips

The board approved the following spring 2017 Heights High field trips: the wrestling team to the state tournament in Columbus; the A Capella group to an international competition in Bowling Green, Ohio; the girls’ lacrosse team to San Diego; grades 9–12 French students to Paris and Marseilles; grades 11–12 health students to state HOSA competition in Toledo; and junior DECA students to the Thrive Leadership Academy Conference in Anaheim. Jim Posch commented that the students raise money to fund their field trips.

Facilities renovation change orders

Doug Myers of Project Management Consultants presented and the board approved change orders for the high school facilities project totaling $344,102.50. Reasons given were unforeseen conditions, zoning requirements and design clarifications. The project is expected to be finished on time.

Facility use fees

The board approved the fee schedule for organizations using school facilities. Some community groups and nonprofits are given free use of facilities, but most are charged $50 per hour, or more under certain circumstances. Such groups must adhere to the district’s no smoking [and no] alcohol policy.

Board president’s comments

Ron Register recognized Heights High’s hockey and basketball teams for their progress in playoffs. He invited the community to visit Heights High at the Wiley campus, 12–2 p.m. on Community Day, March 18, to learn about student work with John Carroll University.

FAC discussion

Posch reminded the board that the Facilities Accountability Committee (FAC) submitted its final report in December, as assigned when its work began, and that the board must now decide whether to disband the committee, extend its operation until project completion, or make other changes. He asked whether the committee has satisfied the community’s need for oversight regarding the use of the bond funds. The board agreed that the FAC’s role is important in terms of the project’s budget and timeline, but whether its charge includes evaluation of design and building use is less clear. Dixon stressed that it is an accountability committee, not an advisory committee. Register summed up the discussion, and the board decided that the committee will continue to operate until project completion, and that the board will clarify its role, which includes reporting to the public on budgetary aspects of the project.

Funds diverted to charter schools

Posch initiated discussion of the vast amount of money that public school districts are losing as the state redirects education funds to charter schools. CH-UH is losing $7.6 million [this year], close to half of the funding that the state used to [provide], with this loss increasing each year. Other East Side districts face the same situation. Ohio House Bill 102 has been introduced, which would fund all schools through a voucher-based system, which Posch stated would destroy public education in Ohio. He spoke of the need to join other districts and organizations in addressing the problem. Silverman volunteered to create a spreadsheet, based on Ohio Department of Education information, identifying districts with which [CH-UH] could partner. Posch will also work on this and enlist the guidance of local expert Susie Kaeser.

Reaching Heights Spelling Bee

Beverly Wright urged that two board members commit to participating in the Reaching Heights Spelling Bee on April 19.

Upcoming meetings

Upcoming meetings are: a work session on Tuesday, March 21, and a regular session on Tuesday, April 4, both at 7 p.m. at the Board of Education building; the Superintendent’s State of the Schools address on Wednesday, April 5, 8:30 a.m., at the Cleveland Heights Community Center; and a special meeting on Monday, April 10 at 7 p.m. at the Board of Education building.

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 email postings of full reports, send an email 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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