Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 2-20-2018

FEBRUARY 20, 2018

  • Public comments
  • MLK Essay award winners
  • Tiger Team members
  • Donations
  • Coventry building
  • Middle schools renovation
  • ECOT, other charter school payments
  • Top of the Hill update
  • Students’ stand on gun control
  • Conference room naming
  • Citizen resolution on automatic rifle sales
  • Board goals and committee assignments

President Jim Posch, Vice President Jodi Sourini, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis and Beverly Wright were present, as were Superintendent Talisa Dixon and Treasurer Scott Gainer. Prior to the open meeting, a Sunshine Laws Training was held at 6 p.m. The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. and adjourned at 10:45 p.m.

Public comments

School gun violence: Three Cleveland Heights High School students spoke on school violence and gun control and stated they would lead a walk out of classes in March and April to protest. These walkouts would be organized and would occur with the knowledge and support of the superintendent and school personnel. The students believe that, instead of moments of silence, they should be as loud as possible on this issue.

Coventry building sale: Three parents and their children addressed the board about the sale of Coventry to the library board. One person commented that it is a "win-win" situation because the Peace Park will be preserved. Others stated that the board should renovate Coventry and sell the building to a charter school or at least for more money.

MLK Essay award winners

Dr. Dixon recognized the MLK Essay awards recipients. The East View United Church of Christ sponsored the essay contest, and the theme was “What would MLK say to the NFL when they took a knee to the National Anthem?” Two of the 24 winners, Henry Herschman and Katherine Jaycox, read their essays.

Tiger Team members

Twelve new Tiger Team Members were also recognized.


The board approved donations ranging from $50 to Noble Elementary by Mr. and Mrs. Perrino for the Noble Clothing Pantry, to $5,000 to Monticello by Lowe's for Project Lead the Way.

Coventry building

The board approved execution of an agreement of the purchase and sale of the Coventry Building for one dollar to the library board. After Kathy Petrey, district lawyer from Squire Patton Boggs, explained policies for disposal of school property, and also after much discussion, the board stated that the library can develop the property to benefit the community. The board doesn't want to be either a landlord or responsible for the expense of upkeep.

Middle schools renovation

The board approved a Moody-Nolan contract amendment and the recommendation of the alternates for the Monticello and Roxboro Middle Schools. After the GMP (guaranteed maximum price) came in lower than expected, the board has $818,000 to spend on alternates such as a sound reinforcement system, elevator upgrades, corridor tack boards, refurbishing and painting existing lockers, painting the gyms, media center flooring, science room flooring and wall bases. A contingency fund would exist in excess of $2 million, which would allow for adding more alternates, including a fire suppression system.

ECOT, other charter school payments

The board approved the financial report, which included a five-year forecast. The board discussed the ECOT situation and whether any of the money would be returned to the district. So far, only five of 60 ECOT Cleveland Heights students have re-enrolled in the district. The board approved payment of $3,205 to Northwest Evaluation Association for Communion of Saints Schools and $7,000 to Conscious Discipline for Fairfax Elementary.

Top of the Hill update

District Legal Counsel David Seed presented the TIF (Tax Increment Financing) proposal for the Top of the Hill development. The developers would receive the taxes back to use for infrastructure projects. For TIF proposals, information on tax withholding must be presented to the city and schools.

Students’ stand on gun control

Dr. Dixon stated that she supports students' efforts to take a stand on gun control.

Conference room naming

Under new business, the board voted, with one nay vote, to name a conference room in honor of former Heights High Principal Jim Cipolletti. Heintz was the dissenting vote. He felt it would be difficult to fairly select individuals to be honored by such naming practices.

Citizen resolution on automatic rifle sales

The board discussed a resolution banning automatic rifle sales. Because a community member had introduced the resolution without fact checking by the board, the board wanted time to review the resolution. The board hopes to have something to vote on after review by the next meeting. The board also asked about the district’s security procedures for school shootings and discussed making these available.

Board goals and committee assignments

After a break at 9:30 p.m., the board discussed board goals and assignments. The 2018 board priorities include: student success, racial diversity, school climate and expectations, leadership evaluations, strategic plan evaluations, data and measurements, finance, advocacy, next steps for facilities, communication, attracting and retaining families, supporting our biggest partners, and revamping committee structures. The board discussed identifying which areas could be addressed in committees or work groups, designating areas of focus for individual board members, and balancing where the board plays a supporting versus an active role.

The draft 2018 committee assignments are:

  • District calendar: Malia Lewis
  • Policy committee: Jodi Sourini, Malia Lewis
  • Personnel committee: Dan Heintz, Jodi Sourini
  • MSAN student achievement: Beverly Wright
  • Bond accountability commission: Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis
  • CTE business advisory committee: open
  • Facilities/building utilization: Jim Posch, Jodi Sourini
  • Lay finance committee: open
  • Heights Coalition for Public Education: Beverly Wright or Malia Lewis
  • Heights Schools Foundation trustee: Dan Heintz
  • PTA: Malia Lewis or Beverly Wright
  • Reaching Heights: Beverly Wright
  • Cleveland Heights city relations: Jim Posch
  • University Heights city recreation: Jodi Sourini
  • Community in schools task force: Beverly Wright
  • Equity task force: open
  • Gifted task force: Jodi Sourini
  • Grading task force: open,
  • Discipline task force: open
  • OSBA legislative liaison: Jim Posch

Upcoming meetings

A regular board meeting is scheduled for March 6, 2018, and a work session for March 20, 2018. All meetings are held at 7 p.m. at the Board of Education offices.

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.


Read More on Schools
Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 1:45 PM, 03.20.2018