Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 5-2-2017

MAY 2, 2017

  • Awards and recognitions
  • Public comments
  • Science curriculum
  • Student field trips
  • Change orders
  • Business actions
  • Donations received
  • Finance
  • Charter school legislation
  • Upcoming meetings

Ron Register (president), Kal Zucker (vice president), Jim Posch, Eric Silverman and Beverly Wright were present, as were Superintendent Talisa Dixon and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting opened at 7 p.m., preceded by an executive session at 6 p.m. and a reception for tenured teachers and Bellefaire staff at 6:30 pm. The meeting adjourned at 9:25 p.m.

Awards and recognitions

Rogina Rai and Samiksha Rai, Noble Elementary School fourth-grade English Language Learning program students, were recognized for surpassing fourth-grade reading instruction goals.

The Odyssey program for middle school students was recognized. Educational liaison Claude Holland explained the program partnerships, which include the McGregor senior housing facility intergenerational program where students interact with residents by giving manicures and playing games. The residents are considered mentors and role models for the students. The students also tutor Roxboro Elementary School students in English and math. Michael Ryan, a parent and juvenile court judge, praised the Odyssey program. (Ryan is a Cleveland Heights High School graduate and member of the Heights Hall of Fame.)

The DeZine for Success program was recognized as a way [in which] students can prepare for the future after high school graduation. This Northeast Ohio program aims to help entrepreneurial students develop successful businesses. The program’s goals are to create success, [encourage] independence, investigate investment ideas, offer summer shadowing opportunities and internships, and promote accountability for the students. There were 98 participants from Cleveland and Cleveland Heights; of these, 98 percent graduated. Some students have started businesses or explored college opportunities.

Brian Williams introduced students from the Options Global Ambassadors initiative who traveled to South Africa. Tyron Bryant, De’Shawn Gibson, and Roberto Osorio spoke about their travels and thanked the board and their sponsors for their support. The students indicated that South African students share many of the same concerns as American students.

Jeff Johnson introduced the Bellefaire staff who will be reassigned within the district because the Bellefaire School and the school district are separating. Johnson also honored the teachers who received tenure this year.

Public comments

Contracts: A concerned retired teacher asked the board and Scott Gainer to clarify the five-year contracts issued to the superintendent and to Gainer. She felt more money should be given to dedicated staff. She had asked for this clarification in writing but did not receive answers, so she approached the board.

After-school care privatization: Two parents expressed concern about board action to privatize after-school care. They said the after-school staff had no warning that they would lose their jobs. They wanted to know how such decisions are made and believe a lack of transparency exists that erodes trust in the board.

Science curriculum

The board held a second reading of the science curriculum adoption. The curriculum committee, chaired by Julie Raffay and Bob Swaggard, recommended approval of the textbook series, which complies with national standards.

Student field trips

The board approved field trips by the Power of the Pen team to Wooster, Ohio, for the state competition May 25–26, and the Gearity fourth-grade overnight field trip to the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center May 30–June 1.

Change orders

The board approved a total of $391,178 in change orders for the facilities renovation, which included one credit of $23,167.

Of this amount, $163,442 was needed for unforeseen conditions, including brick damage, window infill, exterior studs and slab coordination, window structural steel installation, and infill auditorium heating and cooling. Code requirements costs required $20,106. Design clarifications incurred $230,797. The natatorium drain required modification. The board questioned why the drain concern had not been considered in the original pool design.

PMC Regency staff presented slides on progress and the change orders. High school tours are being planned.

Business actions

The board approved the following:

  • A recommendation authorizing the execution of and delivery of an AT&T exclusive easement from the board to the Ohio Bell Telephone Co.
  • A resolution authorizing the procurement and installation of security cameras, surveillance equipment and related upgrades from U.S. Protective Service, which was outside of statutory competitive bidding procedures; this equipment is for the security and protection of school property.
  • A resolution declaring transportation to be impractical for three students at the Gross Schechter School and the Village Prep Cliffs Campus charter school in Cleveland.

Donations received

 The board accepted the following donations:

  • $500 to Boulevard Elementary School
  • $500 to Fairfax Elementary School
  • $500 to Gearity Professional Development School
  • $500 to Oxford Elementary School
  • $500 to Roxboro Elementary School
  • $500 to Monticello Middle School
  • $500 to Roxboro Middle School
  • $6,295 to Cleveland Heights High School
  • $1,000 to Milton and Esther Moss scholarship fund
  • $1,240 to Officer Jason D. West Memorial scholarship fund
  • Video production studio anchor desk/set


The board approved the financial reports and five-year forecast, but Scott Gainer explained that the report depends on the state education budget.

Charter school legislation

Ron Register reported that Ohio House legislation was passed, giving more money to private charter schools. It will be challenged, and networking with other districts is encouraged.

LWV Observer: Lillian Houser.

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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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