Cleveland Heights - University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 5-1-12
MAY 1, 2012
- Awards and recognitions
- New Community Bible Fellowship
- Field trips
- Approved grants
- Race to the Top
- NEOLA policy review
- Facilities planning
- The high school
- Racial balance
- Student achievement
- Waste and recycling services
- Library board appointment
- Five-year financial forecast
- Joint council meeting
All board members were present.
Awards and recognitions
The board recognized the Heights High Trio, student videographers, and Heights High’s boys runner-up state champion indoor track team. April was Autism Awareness Month, and Barbara Coiner, on behalf of other district parents, thanked district specialists, teachers and aides for their work. The Ohio House of Representatives awarded the district an Exemplary Saver Award for reducing costs through the joint purchase of gas and other supplies.
New Community Bible Fellowship
The director of the New Community Bible Fellowship in Cleveland Heights expressed his church’s interest in buying the Delisle building (formerly Taylor Academy) for use as a youth and adult activity center.
The board approved three field trips: a middle school trip to Montreal and Quebec City from May 18 to 22; Gearity’s fourth grade trip to Put-in-Bay on May 29 and 30; and Heights High’s AP Literature trip to London from June 10 to 19, 2013.
The board approved the following three grant submissions: to Multimedia Mashup for $14,843, for a Safe and Drug Free Schools Sustainability Plus grant of $50,000, and to Alternative Education Challenge for $88,492.
Race to the Top
Joseph Micheller, director of special programs, reported that the federal funds of $443,000 for the program's third year out of four have been allocated. The goal is to ensure that students are college and career ready.
NEOLA policy review
Review items include: 15 slots in the district’s full-day preschool program at Gearity, which would be available to eligible children of employees at a cost of $720 monthly; the principal and the faculty adviser at Heights High are responsible for the review process of school-sponsored publications, not the school board; and the definition of “monitor” has been clarified in the student network Internet acceptable use policy.
The high school
Stephen Shergalis, the district’s business director, reported that including Heights High in phase one of the project would cost an additional $8 million. This is due partly to escalation costs—Plan C now leaves a smaller percentage of the costs to escalate over time. Also, providing “swing space” for all 1,600 high school students would be more costly if they were uprooted before other buildings had been vacated. Existing facilities do not provide the kind of space needed for certain grade levels. Nancy Peppler, board member, asked for more details on swing space and the disruption of students during the process. Ron Register, board member, asked how the cost of swing space was estimated. Shergalis assured the board that no additional personnel costs would be associated with swing space, and that the district is committed to moving students only once before moving them into permanent space.
The Plan C reconfiguration would affect the racial balance among schools with Boulevard going from 92 to 87 percent minority, Canterbury from 72 to 75 percent, Monticello from 95 to 96 percent, Oxford from 87 to 94 percent, Roxboro Elementary from 74 to 60 percent, Roxboro grades four through eight from 62 to 75 percent, and Wiley from 90 to 94 percent. Due to federal regulations regarding student privacy, information on socioeconomic balance is not in the database and can only be obtained by a manual search, which Peppler requested. Kal Zucker, board member, requested that the racial and socioeconomic data cover the past five years.
According to Shergalis, abundant data suggests that poor facilities negatively affect student achievement and normally functioning facilities have a positive effect. The most important factors are natural and artificial lighting, sound issues, and temperature and climate issues. Kal Zucker asked for information relating student achievement to the proposed grade level configuration.
The district team that interviewed construction firms concluded that Regency Construction had the expertise and experience to provide a high quality and accurate budget proposal including the creation of swing space. The district already has more information than most districts have at this point, and contingency plans are built into all aspects of the project. No detailed design plan exists at this point because the cost of design work is so high it is not practical to do one before the decision to move ahead is made and funding obtained. Board questions will be answered and facilities discussion will continue at the May 15 work session.
Waste and recycling services
The board approved advertising and receiving bids for waste and recycling services, which are part of the cooperative buying programs.
Library board appointment
The board approved the appointment of Rob Fischer to the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library Board.
Five-year financial forecast
Regarding the five-year financial forecast, positive factors include the 2011 levy passage and stable health care costs; negative factors include a possible one-half percent drop in the property tax collection rate, and reappraisal projections forecasting a slight decrease in valuation.
Joint council meeting
The board will meet with the city councils of Cleveland Heights and University Heights on May 14. No public comments will be heard, but the public is welcome to observe.
Kal Zucker reported that at a meeting of the Urban Commission he learned that segregation in Ohio’s 21 largest school districts has worsened.
LWV observer: Nancy Dietrich.
These meeting summaries are abstracted from LWV observers’ written reports. The summaries have been edited and prepared by Anne McFarland, Charlene Morse, and Maryann Barnes. To receive e-mail postings of full reports, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or join through Google groups using “lwv-chuh observer reports” as a search phrase.
These reports contain member observation and selected highlights of public meetings and are not official statements of the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters Cuyahoga Area. This disclaimer must accompany any redistribution of these reports.