Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 7-6-2021
JULY 6, 2021 regular session
- Recognitions and rewards
- Update on academic goals
- Resolution on education in systemic racism
- Treasurer’s report
- In-person public meetings required
- Board announcements
Present were President James Posch and members Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, Jodi Sourini, and Beverly Wright. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting lasted approximately 1 hour 10 minutes.
Recognitions and awards
Superintendent Kirby recognized sixteen new Tiger Team Members. She also thanked the many people who worked for Fair School Funding. The Fair School Funding plan is included in the Ohio budget that Governor DeWine recently signed.
Update on academic goals
Superintendent Kirby discussed the June retreats in which leaders and principals received equity training. She shared results of learning trends that were targeted for support and showed improvement. She noted improvements for kindergarten through grade two students in the Springboard Collaborative, a reading support program. Fourth quarter data from all the schools supported a continued focus on student attendance and academic needs.
Approximately 500 students in grades kindergarten through eight and 250 students in grades nine through eleven are receiving academic enrichment. Ms. Kirby also recognized several community partners who are supporting the summer program.
Resolution on education in systemic racism
The board approved a resolution regarding the Educational Imperative of a Comprehensive Understanding of Systemic Racism. The board considers this resolution to be profoundly important; details about the resolution, as well as a link to video of the reading and board discussion, are accessible from the district’s home page (chuh.org). Mr. Posch said this resolution was needed because of proposed state legislation HB 322 and 327, which would limit what teachers can present concerning the history of racism. He claimed the proposed legislation would handcuff curriculum and not teach real history. Ms. Lewis said HB 327 limits teaching current events, which would limit understanding of the present world and threaten democracy. Mr. Heintz stated that democracy requires disagreement and facing parts of history that are uncomfortable is necessary. Superintendent Kirby said she was proud to serve a district that clearly proposes such a strong resolution. The resolution can be found at CHUH.org “BOE Passes Resolution Supporting Culturally Responsive Curriculum.”
Approval of Policies C
Dr. Lombardo (via Zoom) presented the third and final reading of policies C, which the board approved. Ms. Lewis asked for and received confirmation that video surveillance equipment already purchased complied with the intentions presented in Policies C.
As Mr. Gainer is awaiting further funding information, he will present the five-year-forecast at the next board meeting.
Mr. Gainer stated that the state budget presents an entirely new funding program. It ends deduction funding for vouchers, but still presents issues in education funding. The legislature increased monies for vouchers, and education funds are only assured for the two-year state budget period. The board expressed concern about phasing in monies previously deducted over six years when only the first two years of funding are secure. Ms. Lewis stated that a significant amount of the funding change would be received in years five and six if the state continues to support this budget. Mr. Heintz noted that state policies are normalizing the use of public money for private education. In Ohio, 90 percent of students attend public schools, and ten percent attend private schools. The budget directs 25 percent of public tax dollars to private education and 75 percent to public schools. Ms. Sourini said advocacy for fair education funding must continue.
In-person public meetings required
Mr. Posch announced that as of July 1, 2021, Ohio law requires all public meetings to be in person. Board members attending virtually would not be paid for their attendance and would be unable to comment or vote on board actions. He requested continuation of video for later viewing. Clarification was requested whether presentations could be given remotely or if the presenter must be physically present. Mr. Posch asked Ms. Kirby to obtain clarification regarding meeting places and the mask policy for a meeting in a school building.
Ms. Lewis will attend the Northeast Ohio School Boards Association meetings. She also announced a Reaching Heights board meeting on July 13.
Mr. Heintz attended the quarterly meeting of the Heights School Foundations Board. The Heights School Foundation is fundraising through October to support scholarships for Heights High students and support for students in the classroom. They also selected two people for the Hall of Fame. Alumnae will be inducted during homecoming weekend.
Ms. Sourini announced she will exercise her option to purchase vision and dental insurance coverage, personally paying 100 percent of the premium. The Ohio Revised Code requires this announcement at a public meeting.
Upcoming meetings are special meetings on July 15 and July 20, both starting at 6 p.m. All meetings will be held at the Board of Education administrative offices.
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 menu; on Board Docs go to “MEETINGS” in the top menu; click on “Agenda.” Video of board meetings are available on the district’s YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/CHUHSchools).