Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 4-30 and 5-4, 2021
APRIL 30, 2021 special meeting
Present were Board President James Posch; members Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, Jodi Sourini, and Beverly Wright. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby, Treasurer Scott Gainer, and Assistant Superintendent Alicia Gould.
Paper and pencil for third grade tests
The board met with one agenda item – to authorize a paper and pencil format for the third grade math and English language arts test; the format was approved.
LWV Observer: Robin Koslen.
MAY 4, 2021, regular session
- Public comments
- Recognitions and awards
- School calendar and policy readings
- Pandemic planning
- Bus depot location planning
- District finances: Fair School Funding Plan
All board members were present as were the superintendent and treasurer. The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. and adjourned at 8:36 p.m.
A teacher in the CH-UH district expressed recognition and gratitude for teachers who were at the kindergarten information night.
A community member complained that when commenting she had to face the board with her back to the camera. She accused the school board of being anti-union, and stated that board members running as a group in a re-election campaign was inappropriate. She also referred to a failure of leadership and a questionable voting record.
Recognitions and awards
Superintendent Kirby recognized students who spoke at the state of the schools address and students who participated in the DECA competition. She announced that 50 students will be inducted into the National Honor Society and thanked the teachers and staff who supported this achievement. Taylor Evans of the Superintendent's Cadre reported on athletic events and achievements.
Ms. Sourini and Mr. Heintz thanked the teachers who have committed to teach the summer school session. All board members recognized Gary Kaserman, head custodian at the high school, for his long career, his commitment and service to CH-UH Schools, and his service as a union leader. They wished him a happy retirement.
The board approved memorandums of understanding with OAPSE (Ohio Association of Public School Employees) Locals 102 and 617 and EAPSE (Educational Administrative and Professional Staff Council). The board authorized the Ohio Schools Council Cooperative to advertise for bids for school bus chassis and bodies.
School calendar and policy readings
Dr. Paul Lombardo presented the first reading of the modified 2021-2022 calendar. It reflects the teachers' negotiated contract. He also presented a second reading of policy group B and a first reading of policy group C. Mr. Heintz was interested in the response to policy 7440.01, which relates to video surveillance and monitoring for evaluating teacher online instruction.
Fourth quarter instruction and graduation: Superintendent Kirby said that students began participating in the five-day option model for in-person instruction on April 12. State testing for grades three through twelve will be completed by May 14. Graduation is planned for June 3, with June 4 as the rain date.
Mr. Posch noted that school COVID protocols require extra space and various buildings may be utilized when needed.
The board thanked Superintendent Kirby and the staff for a "walk through" of the elementary schools. They commented on the clear shields. The staff would like more shields and shared how incredibly challenging remote instruction is. The board would like to plan another walk-through during summer school.
Summer school: Planning continues. Presently, 447 students have registered.
Vaccine clinics: The district held a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the high school in partnership with Giant Eagle Pharmacy and the Educational Services Center. Students will receive their second dose at a clinic on May 19. For future middle school student vaccination, the district will host as many clinics as allowed.
Bus depot location planning
The present school bus depot is on land rented from Park Synagogue. Mr. Posch and Ms. Sourini are meeting with University Heights Mayor Michael Brennan and the Facilities Committee to investigate depot options. Space at Wiley is available, but the pad on which busses would be housed requries upgrading. Alternative locations are being considered, as well as the possibility of canopies for the bays.
District finances, Fair School Funding Plan
The state auditor awarded the district a four-star rating (highest) for having met all seven measures regarding public records and the sunshine laws. Mr. Gainer thanked his staff and all who worked to meet public requests for information.
Mr. Gainer presented the five-year forecast in a new expanded format that was easier to read. The Ohio legislature is considering how to fund the Fair School Funding Plan. Currently, funding for the bill is embedded in the senate’s biennial budget bill. EdChoice vouchers would be funded directly by the state, and the district’s per-pupil allocation would return to a base amount. However, funding for the plan would be phased in over six years. Thus, the district would not immediately see significant funds. Once the state's biennial budget is finalized, the district will be able to adjust the forecast. Superintendent Kirby stated that she had just returned from Columbus where she had presented testimony in support of the Fair School Funding Plan to the Ohio Senate Committee of Primary and Secondary Schools.
The state’s Student Wellness and Success funds have been folded into moneys for the Fair School Funding Plan. Ms. Lewis interjected that the governor did not intend for those funds to be used in this manner. Mr. Gainer concurred. There is concern that the state will limit the disadvantaged student aid. The state expects districts to use ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds as a stopgap for the six-year phase-in of the Fair School Funding Plan. ESSER funds and Student Wellness and Success funds are separate from general operating funds.
The superintendent is considering using the district’s ESSER funds, which must be spent by 2024, to support various educational models or summer programs.
Discussion followed concerning how the state is going to allocate funds for the schools. The board approved the five-year forecast and agreed that the community should be educated regarding the changes in funding.
Upcoming meetings are a work session May 18, 6:30 p.m. and a regular meeting June 1, both to be held in the high school auditorium.
LWV Observer: Rosemarie Fairman.
Documents for all board meetings can be accessed from the Board of Education webpage: www.chuh.org/BoardofEducation.aspx. Go to “BoardDocs” in the left frame menu; on Board Docs go to “MEETINGS” in the top menu; click on “Agenda.” Board meetings are livestreamed on the district’s YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/CHUHSchools) and recorded for later viewing.