Jodi L. Sourini candidate for CH-UH School Board
JODI L. SOURINI
University Heights Age: 50
Education: Bachelor's of Science degree in Public Relations from Kent State University and a Master's degree in Business Administration from John Carroll University
Occupation: Marketing Communications Manager
Qualifications: Active in CHUH public schools for 8 years in individual buildings and on district-wide committees: Lay Facilities Committee Member (district), Committee member to select the Architect and Construction Management firms for the high school (district), Gifted Education Task Force Member (district), PTA president (Gearity Elementary)• Kindernet Representative (Gearity Elementary)• Parent focus group participant for superintendent selection (district)• Parent focus group participant for the selection of elementary school principals (Gearity and Fairfax elementaries)• PTA Recording Secretary and Box Tops Coordinator (Monticello Middle School)• PTA member/volunteer (Boulevard Elementary)• Community volunteer to provide feedback for science students on their sustainability recommendations for University Heights (Heights High School)• Volunteer parent chaperone on many field trips over past several years including the middle schools’ two-night Ohio Model United Nations trip (Monticello Middle School)
QUESTIONS AND RESPONSES:
1. Unique qualifications: I have 25 years of experience in marketing and communications. As a department manager, I’m responsible for making thoughtful decisions to achieve goals, managing a budget, operating within limited resources and hiring and managing a team. I hold a B.S. Degree in Public Relations from Kent State and an MBA from John Carroll. I’m a 22-year resident of University Heights and a parent in the district. My son attended Gearity, Boulevard and Monticello. I believe I'm the only candidate who brings a perspective from both the east and north ends of our district. I want to strengthen the relationship between UH and our schools. I’m running because our community depends on strong schools. The painful school closings and reductions we’ve gone through result from declining enrollment. I believe we can change this. As a member of the BoE, I have a Plan for the Future: Attract and retain families, improve communications, ensure fiscal responsibility and collaborate with our city governments.
2. Top issues: I support programs that target interventions for children who need additional academic support so we can improve our score on the state report card. This takes time. Meanwhile, we should produce an additional report to the community that shows where we are performing well, but isn’t reflected on the state report card. Our BoE needs to work with other urban districts to influence what measures are included on the state report card. Too many existing measures are heavily influenced by socioeconomic status and transiency, unfairly penalizing inner-ring public schools. However, we cannot continue to use poverty and transiency as an excuse. We need to continue to bring wraparound services to students to address the effects of poverty and transiency. I plan to build coalitions that communicate the value of public education, attract and retain families to our district, and align community resources and organizations to provide programs for the education, safety and well-being of our children.
3. Budget overrun: One reason the high school project went over budget is because on the advice of the Owner’s Rep firm, the project was started with only 50 percent of the drawings completed. During construction, unforeseen issues resulted in change orders and cost overruns. As a member of the BoE, I would advocate for waiting for completed drawings before starting the middle school renovations. With fewer funds than planned, the BoE will have to make thoughtful choices on what renovations to invest in. I would prioritize items that have a direct impact on educational outcomes and the safety and well-being of our children over aesthetics and historic preservation. This phase of the project must stay on budget and demonstrate value. Our community needs to gain value from the high school before it will invest in more renovations. As a member of the BoE, I would look for every opportunity ensure the new high school is used as public asset for as many people in the community as possible.
4. Education policies: I’m against high-stakes testing to evaluate teachers, schools and students. Too many factors influence how a child or school performs to measure with a single test and draw direct correlations. Whether we agree or not with school choice, it’s the current environment we are faced with. As such, we need to communicate the value and educational advantages our public schools offer in unique programs and extracurricular activities so families are making an informed choice about schools. We need to interest families in considering and choosing Heights. Attracting and retaining families will help stem the flow of money that’s leaving our district. In addition, our BoE needs to partner with other districts across the state to pressure our legislature and governor to regulate and hold charter and private schools accountable for academic performance and financial management, as well as to create a constitutional method for the thorough and efficient funding of public schools.
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.