Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 3-1-2022
MARCH 1, 2022, regular meeting
- Public comments
- District calendars
- Equity training plans
- New COVID protocols
- Fair School Funding Plan report
- Ohio House Bill 327
Present were President Malia Lewis, Dan Heintz, James Posch, Jodi Sourini, and Beverly Wright. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting lasted one hour.
After Superintendent Kirby recognized the district counseling staff and Tiger Team Members of the Month, the Student Cadre reported on events from Black History Month, the Gear Up Financial Literacy Workshop for Students and Families, and the commitment to Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports at the high school. The PTSA won a grant from TikTok that will allow them to host family-centered conversations about digital safety and responsibility. They also reported on sports team achievements and involvement in state tournaments. Eighteen Heights High student athletes signed official college letters of intent during the National Signing Day ceremony.
A community member discussed the status of Reginald Williams, district discipline supervisor, as a district employee and asked to whom he answered. She opined that Williams was serving the district as an attorney and would have conflicts of interest. She expressed concern for student and family rights and about a mass e-mail Williams sent regarding the student code of conduct.
District calendars for 2022-23 and 2023-24
Dr. Lombardo presented the district calendars for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years. The calendars are posted on the district website with a link inviting community comment. After a one-month review period, the final calendars will be voted on in April. The teachers’ union and PTA members participated with school personnel in composing the calendars. Superintendent Kirby has been in discussion with five local school districts, so the calendars have similar dates for spring break and the school year start and end dates. Collaborating on these schedules is important for transportation planning.
Dr. Lombardo also presented group B policies for the third and final reading, which the board then approved.
Equity training plans
Superintendent Kirby said that district-wide equity training is being planned for March. She is vetting partners to assist with planning school board equity training and operationalizing the equity policy.
New COVID protocols
The superintendent reviewed changes in district COVID protocols. The district has adopted the new CDC guidance regarding quarantining and isolation. It has not changed contact tracing procedures. The case reporting dashboard and summary reports will be updated daily.
New guidance regarding masks will be discussed at the Reopening Advisory Committee meeting after receiving guidance from the Ohio Department of Health and Cuyahoga County Board of Health.
Ms. Lewis questioned how districts that use CHUH transportation are complying with mask regulations and asked that CHUH decisions regarding COVID policies be widely disseminated. She also stated that individual families have the right to make masking decisions that meet their comfort and needs. Students who want to wear a mask must be respected.
Fair School Funding Plan report
Mr. Gainer participated in the Fair School Funding Plan regional workshop. He said there was discussion about concerns for moving forward, especially in light of HB290 (the “Backpack” bill). At the workshop, he discussed how the CHUH district, in contrast to neighboring districts, is beginning with a deficit due to the previous voucher system. He also reported that for each new biannual budget, the Fair School Funding Plan group will request advocacy for fair funding.
Mr. Heintz applauded the Heights Coalition for Public Education for their advocacy and recent public forum on the “Vouchers Hurt Ohio” lawsuit that was filed January 4. Held remotely, the forum attracted 165 school board members statewide.
Ohio House Bill 327
The Ohio House will be calling for testimony on March 9 regarding HB 327. Those who wish to submit testimony can find information on submitting testimony at Honesty for Ohio Education, https://www.honestyforohioeducation.info/. [Information on the bill, which prohibits “teaching, advocating, or promoting divisive concepts,” can be found on the Ohio House website: https://ohiohouse.gov/legislation/134/hb327]
Ms. Lewis said that people who want to participate in the career focus group could register on the district web site.
Registration has begun for district summer camps. Registration appointments for pre-school and pre-kindergarten begins March 8.
President Lewis asked those present to remember the passing of Deborah McCollum with a moment of silence. Ms. McCollum was an administrative assistant at Roxboro for 26 years.
Upcoming meetings are a work session on March 15 at 6:30 p.m. and a regular meeting on April 5. Superintendent Kirby will deliver the State of Our Schools address on March 16 at 7 p.m. 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 menu; on BoardDocs 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.