Board of Education, March 2017

March 29th, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

Board of Education
March 20, 2017

Present: Board members Todd Davidson, Alex Dykema, Jeff Isaacs, Annette Tucker Sutherland; Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Treasurer Bryan Christman
Absent: Board member William Clawson, who was traveling

This meeting was rescheduled from March 14 (snow cancellation) and combined a regular meeting with the work session that had been scheduled for March 21.

The meeting was called to order at 5 p.m. by Mr. Dykema (president), and began with the introduction of Onaway principal Eric Forman, who listed various activities going on at his school. Following approval of the minutes of the last meeting, Dr. Hutchings recognized various students and staff who had received honors during the past month.

Next came public comments. One of the co-chairs of the district’s new Equity Task Force, Oxford Road resident Lisa Vahey, said that the task force has received applications from 69 people. The task force will include six members of the community, two students, plus teachers staff members, and administrators.

Following the routine approval of personnel items, representatives of the design and roof-repair firms hired by the district and Stephen Wilkins, Shaker’s assistant superintendent of business and operations, gave the board an update on the district’s plans for undertaking capital projects. Many of the plans depend on the passage of the May 2 bond issue/capital improvement levy, but some problems must be handled as emergencies. Most serious right now is the cafeteria ceiling and roof at the Middle School. The deteriorating roof is causing leaks that degrade the ceiling. Although the roof over the cafeteria can be patched, much of the whole building’s roof will have to be replaced. A contract for the Middle School’s roof replacement will be presented to the board in April. Meanwhile, the district will create a five-year plan to handle roof repairs and replacement on any buildings that need fixes.

The May 2 bond issue will raise about $30 million and the levy about $1 million per year, which is enough to cover just some of the capital repairs and improvements the district is facing. A capital-improvements program recommendation will be presented at the board’s April meeting. Mr. Dykema noted that the district’s enrollment is going down, which means the district has to make smart decisions about which school buildings to put the most money into.

Mr. Wilkins and Chris Dewey of Van Auken Akins, the district’s hired architecture/design firm, also made a presentation of new classroom “flexible furniture” options. He said 250 teachers submitted their preferences via a district survey. While the district balances “need vs. want,” the board also wants to meet the staff’s desire for 21st-century classrooms. Choices will be narrowed down at the April 11 board meeting.

The business meeting followed the discussion of capital plans. The following were unanimously approved by the board:

  • A resolution authorizing the district’s participation in the Ohio Schools Council Cooperative School Bus Purchasing Program for the 2017-18 school year. This give Council the OK to advertise and receive bids on behalf of the board for the purchase of four 72-passenger school buses. The district assumes that buses are replaced every 12 years.
  • Amending two of the district’s contracts with Van Auken Akins, one extending the program manager’s contract and increasing its funding from $100,000 to $125,000; the other (a second amendment) expanding the same firm’s work to include 10 additional classrooms. The fee for these services is not to exceed $50,000.
  • Additional holidays and revised summer hours for district employees who belong to the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers
  • Revised summer hours for secretarial and clerical workers (Monday-Thursday)

Also covered at this meeting were a second reading of a motion to adopt and revise certain board policies (no action will be taken on the policies until the third reading in April) and a public hearing on the district’s Internet Safety Policy (no comments were made by members of the public).

At this point, after two hours, I had to leave the meeting. But details of the complete agenda can be found at

Marcia Goldberg



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