Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education Candidate Charles C. Drake

Age: 69



Biographical Information:

Education: Cleveland Heights graduate; John Carroll University, BSBA, Accounting

Current occupation: Consultant

The School District has made a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and educational equity. Do you agree with this commitment? If yes, what would you do as a Board member to support those values and promote student success?

I am a proud 50-year resident of the CH-UH school district, a vibrant and diverse community. All students deserve equal access to education and opportunities provided by our district. In order to function highly and be included in the opportunities of the 21st century, all children should receive the best education that the district can provide by teaching reading, writing, math and science. For students who need additional assistance, I will promote special tutoring services to be made available after school and on the weekends. I would build on current programs, such as Reaching Heights, especially those that ask alumni and community members to share their life experiences and how their education helped them to succeed in life.

Regarding the Community Learning Center (“CLC”) that the School District and some community partners are implementing at Noble Elementary School, how would you as a Board member support the CLC and encourage the Noble community to utilize its wraparound social and medical services?

All inhabitants of the areas in our district should have access to all of the services provided by this district and other governing entities. That being said, I believe that not only Noble residents, but also residents of the Oxford area should have access to all the services, both educational and social, provided by the CH-UH district and other governing entities. I would make it a priority of the district to communicate to all inhabitants the services that are available through the Community Learning Center. I would explore with the cities within the district that they should incorporate the same services available in their community centers.

What actions do you think the Board should take to maintain the fiscal health of the School District? How would these actions affect the quality of its academic and extracurricular offerings?

The board should request the Auditor of State to perform an operational audit of the district’s operations and facilities. The board can regain the loss of community trust by creating an independent lay finance and audit committee. No member of this committee should provide any service to or receive remuneration from the district. Using the analysis from the committee, the board would then be able to economize administrative costs and not impact academics, the arts, or extracurricular activities for the students. The board should explore refinancing the bond issue that renovated the district’s physical facilities. I would demand that a board member participate in all contact and labor negotiations.

What role should environmental considerations play in the Board of Education’s policies and actions?

The #1 priority of the board should be student success. In addition, leaving a cleaner environment for future generations is of great importance. Environmental issues should be considered in all decisions by the board with serious consideration to cost benefit over the long-term. If elected, I would explore converting to a condensed natural gas bus fleet, solar panels on existing structures with storage facilities and net grid metering. I would recommend using federal COVID grant dollars to retrofit the HVAC systems in the buildings to treat the air for COVID and other viruses.

What challenges or opportunities do you think are presented by the School District’s continued ownership of properties that are no longer used for classroom purposes?

The district has under and unused physical facilities, a legacy from a much larger enrolled population. As many taxpayers have requested, the board should request that the Auditor of State perform an operational audit to include review of these properties. An independent audit and finance committee, free of vested interests, should review the audit results and recommend the use or sale of unneeded facilities, in compliance with state laws. The sale of any assets must consider the taxpayers and long-term benefits to all of the communities in the district.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 6:43 AM, 10.02.2021