Dan Heintz candidate for Cleveland Heights-University Heights School Board
Cleveland Heights Age: 50
Education: K-12 CH-UH, B.A. John Carroll University, M.Ed. Ursuline College
Occupation: Public School Teacher
Qualifications: 15 years as a public school teacher. Former small business owner. Lifelong resident.
QUESTIONS AND RESPONSES:
1. Unique qualifications: I initially offered myself as a candidate for our Board of Education because I felt that there was an important voice missing: the voice of a teacher. Now, with the departure of all three incumbents, I believe that my experiences as an educator could not come at a better time. As someone who has actively followed local, state and federal education policy, I understand the political world within which our district operates. As a seasoned mid career educator, I am aware of the issues impacting teaching and learning inside our classrooms. As a teacher who is active in his profession beyond the walls of the classroom, I have extensive experience on committees related to contract negotiations, strategic planning, school levies, professional development, teacher evaluation, standardized testing, and addressing the impact of charter and voucher schools. These experiences have provided me valuable training, and have helped prepare me to serve on our Board of Education.
2. Top issues: To improve learning, I will focus on class size, curriculum and access to after school support. As a teacher myself, I was astounded to learn that some of my son’s 8th grade teachers had 160 students. If we expect teachers to help students become critical thinkers and effective writers, we must have class sizes which support those expectations. Also, administrators & teachers need to work together to ensure that curriculum decisions are informed by a deep understanding of our students and their needs. Additionally, a lack of transportation too often makes it impossible for students to remain after school for extra help. If elected, I will endeavor to establish a "late bus" which is available (even 1 day a week) to ensure that every CH-UH student has access to after school support. Finally, the state of Ohio currently forecasts that our schools will lose roughly 2% of our enrollment each year for the foreseeable future. We must develop a plan to stabilize, and then increase enrollment.
3. Budget overrun: It is true that enhancements were added to the Wiley swing space, and unanticipated issues at Heights High have left the Middle School portion of the renovation budget somewhat lower than originally expected. However, I don’t think that pointing accusatory fingers of blame at people will help solve the problem. Our Board of Education needs to learn from previous mistakes, and move forward together. Our middle schools are still going to receive exciting upgrades, with updated tech and electrical systems, A/C in every classroom and new flooring and paint throughout. It is also worth recognizing that our Bond Accountability Commission has now been seated, and will begin the important work of monitoring the costs and expenses associated with the middle school renovations.
4. Education policies: Ohio's methods for "evaluating" teachers, schools and students create unnecessary institutional and financial burdens, while falsely pretending to provide "apples to apples" comparisons which are fundamentally misleading. Charters and vouchers improperly funnel public funds into private entities. Last year's levy brings roughly $5.8 million new dollars to our budget, yet we are paying over $7.6 million annually for students to attend charter and voucher schools. Our district has not done nearly enough to resist these policies or to ensure that those students actually live in our district. If elected, I will call for a residency audit to be conducted annually. I will also call for an ongoing marketing campaign directed toward all children (charter, private, parochial...) who are not attending our schools. Our schools provide an excellent education. If we do a better job of telling our story, I am convinced that we can attract many of these neighbors back into our classrooms.
League of Women Voters
The 2017 Voters Guide to Candidates and Issues is published as a public service by the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland, CH-UH and FutureHeights. The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization whose mission is to encourage the informed participation by citizens in government. FutureHeights is a nonprofit community development organization. Election Day is Nov. 7, 2017. Polls are open 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.