Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 7-11-2017

JULY 11, 2017

  • New administrators
  • Dismissals
  • Field trips
  • New district software
  • Middle school configurations
  • Public comments
  • Change orders
  • Opening of the new high school
  • Finance
  • Facilities renovation phase two

President Ron Register, Vice President Kal Zucker, Jim Posch, Eric Silverman and Beverly Wright were present, as were Superintendent Talisa Dixon and Treasurer Scott Gainer were also present. The public meeting began at 7 p.m., after a prior executive session, and ended at 8:45 p.m.

New administrators

Superintendent Dixon introduced four new administrators. Joseph D'Amato was hired as athletic director. Karen Liddell Anderson was hired as director of student services, replacing Jeff Johnson, who will now be principal at Monticello Middle School. Lindsay Smith, staff assistant for finance, and Desi Stewart, high school health/physical education teacher and faculty manager for athletics, were also hired.

Dismissals

Dixon asked the board to move for approval of joint resolutions for dismissal in two cases. There was no vote at this meeting.

Field trips

Dixon requested approval for student field trips so that the soccer team can participate in the Columbus Crew Showcase, and the Options global ambassadors can travel to Quito and Esmeraldas, Ecuador, to share, promote, and model the principles embodied in the Options program. The board approved the field trips.

New district software

Dixon explained BoardDocs, the newly implemented software that the district will now use to allow district governance to be streamlined. The board agenda format is now based on this program.

Middle school configurations

The superintendent discussed her letter to the community that described the grades five and six and grades seven and eight option that was being considered for the middle schools. She said that this configuration was not feasible for the district right now, and that the board will "stay the course" with two buildings for grades six through eight, but that the plan can be further considered in the future.

Public comments

Eclipse: A middle school student reminded the board and faculty that on Aug. 21, the first day of school, a solar eclipse will occur. He thinks a unit on the eclipse should be planned, with outdoor activities.

Declaration of Human Rights: A community member who visited the United Nations during a recent vacation in New York City presented a copy of the Declaration of Human Rights to the board.

Middle school renovation: Residents commented on the middle school renovation, encouraging the board to consider other options ranging from forming a kindergarten through grade six and grades seven and eight configuration, planning developmentally appropriate education, and considering declining enrollment and flexibility. One individual said that, given [that] $12,000,000 was invested to prepare Wiley to accommodate the high school students during its renovation, Wiley should be used as the middle school.

Change orders

The board approved 11 change orders for the facilities renovation, ranging from $17,760 to $190,384. A total of $230,000 was for unforeseen conditions, including roof leaks, damaged brick columns, trench drains, and door replacements. A total of $413,000 was needed for design clarifications, including locker modifications because they were placed too closely together, stairway infill, and canopy entrances. PMC Regency staff presented slides on progress and the change orders.

Opening of the new high school

On Aug. 1, the district will receive keys to the renovated high school; a ribbon-cutting and tours of the school are being planned. The design team will remain available after occupancy. The work is warranteed for one year from Aug. 1, unless problems arise after inspection that will change the warranty date.

Insurance

The board approved the 2017–18 insurance proposal for property, liability and fleet insurance from Schools of Ohio Risk Sharing Authority, with a total premium of $338,110.

Donations

The board accepted donations ranging from $60 to Canterbury Elementary School from Giant Eagle to $7,000 from Senders Pediatric to Fairfax Elementary School.

Finance

The board approved a motion to confirm the summary of cash balances by fund for the month ending May 31, 2017, and a motion to approve final appropriations for the school year ending June 30, 2017.

Facilities renovation phase two

The board said it respects the public’s comments but needs more time to study alternative plans for the middle schools. Eric Silverman said no one system is the answer and that the district can't wait for the state to help finance phase two of the facilities program.

Kal Zucker said there is not a single course of action, and that the board is trying to achieve the best education for the students. Jim Posch said the district must examine plans in more depth. Ron Register said he hears the public, but the board must stay the course at this time. He said the budget overruns occurred because of unforeseen circumstances in the high school renovation. Work sessions will be held to study phase two of the renovation, which includes the elementary schools.

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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