Retired teacher seeks answers from BOE

To the Editor:

I felt the need to write after attending the CH-UH school board meeting of April 5. The board was voting on proposed cuts for the next school year. 

I listened to all of the people who spoke before the board and thought each and every one of them spoke thoughtfully and with passion. The commitment of this community to its schools was on full display that evening.

That is why I was astonished that Superintendent Dixon did not take a minute to thank those who spoke [of] their concerns. This district has students who speak eloquently of their teachers and classes, teachers who live and work dedicatedly here for many years, and parents who value and want to safeguard their children's fine education. None of this was acknowledged by the superintendent. I would think it would be a gift to be the superintendent of such a district. No matter that the speakers' views were different from yours, they were presented respectfully. A moment to thank the people who spoke, especially the students, was notably lacking. This is a school district, not an "organization," as the superintendent kept referring to it [on] Tuesday night.

The only people who responded to the speakers were [board members] Mr. Posch and Mr. Silverman. Although they seemed to give credence to some of the questions that were raised by speaker after speaker, they voted for the proposed cuts.

Mr. Posch asked, and was told that the deadline for decisions is not until the end of May. Would it not have been more reasonable to table these cuts, and allow further study to find the answers to the questions raised that night? Mr. Klein, representing the teachers, listed many inaccuracies in the cuts approved that evening.

I was dismayed at [the board’s] responses. I live in this community and am a retired teacher from this district. I will be waiting to hear and to see [the board’s] answers to all of the questions raised Tuesday evening. [The board] owe[s] all of those who spoke at least that.

[Editor’s Note: View the district’s policy regarding public comment at school board meetings in bylaws section 0169.1 here: According to Scott Wortman, coordinator of communications for the school district, "Public comment at board meetings is available as a means of allowing community members to address the board, rather than as conversation between board members and commenters." It has been the CH-UH Board of Education’s procedure not to respond to commenters at board meetings for many years.]

Mary Sickbert

Mary Sickbert
Cleveland Heights

[Sickbert is a retired Roxboro Middle and High school teacher, who taught in the district for 17 years.]

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 12:09 PM, 04.12.2016