Cleveland Heights - University Heights Board of Education meeting 7-2-2019

JULY 2, 2019 


  • Public comments
  • Solar panel update
  • Food service agreement
  • Voucher impact
  • School resource officers
  • Cell phone policy
  • Canterbury trees
  • Adding public comment opportunities


President Jodi Sourini, Jim Posch, Dan Heintz, Beverly Wright and Malia Lewis were present. Treasurer Scott Gainer was also present.Superintendent Brian Williams was attending an educational trip in Egypt. The meeting began at 7:03p.m. and adjourned at 9 p.m.

Public comments

Solar panels:Several community members expressed their support for installing solar panels on Heights High. Although one audience member cautioned that the board must proceed with caution to ensure that the community receives the best possible outcome.

Solar panel update

When Heights High was renovated, it was made "solar ready". The board is studying the best way to proceed for installing the panels at the high school and potentially other buildings in the system. After much discussion, it was proposed that a working group of community members with expertise in this area be formulated to help the board determine the best means of procuring a contract with a solar energy provider.

Food service agreement

The board approved the resolution renewing a contract with AVI Foodsystems. PTA council had sent a letter endorsing continuing the contract. AVI has committed to making 75 percent of the food from scratch and using 50 percent from local sources or suppliers. 

Voucher impact

The district is still losing money to state vouchers. Mr. Gainer did not have an exact dollar amount due to a difference in the data received from the state and his records. Board Member Heintz reported that, as a parent, he regularly receives solicitations from private schools trying to get his family to leave " the failing school" where he feels his son is getting a great education.

School resource officers

The board discussed the role of school resource officers (SRO). Board members had concerns whether SROs understand that they work under different expectations and limitations while working in the schools than when working outside the schools.

Cell phone policy

There was a discussion of the district's cell phone policy. The board directed the superintendent's designee to draft a policy specifying that use of a cell phone in a classroom be put at the discretion of each teacher.

Canterbury trees

Seven silver maple trees at Canterbury Elementary School were found to be dead or dying. Five of those trees have been removed. Neighbors in the community have expressed concerns that the trees were removed needlessly. Due to the concerns, two additional arborists were hired by the district to assess the health of the two remaining trees that are scheduled to be removed. Both arborists determined that the trees are dying and a potential danger. The district is aware of the potential danger after a tree fell on the swing set at Roxboro Elementary School last year. 

Adding public comment opportunities

Mr. Heintz expressed a desire to allow public comments at board work sessions and special sessions. There are many districts in the area that allow public comments at these sessions. Other board members were concerned about potential conflict with sunshine laws. Special sessions and work sessions are designated for specific purposes and there is to be no discussion of other issues at those meetings. Community members may not be aware of or concerned with that constraint. After a lengthy discussion Jodi Sourini said that she would discuss the issue with the district’s counsel. The discussion will continue at the board retreat.

The next meeting will be the board retreat on Saturday, July 20, 9 a.m. at the board of education building.

LWV Observer: Robin Koslen.

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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 of Greater Cleveland. This disclaimer must accompany any redistribution of these reports. 

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 1:28 PM, 08.02.2019