Board of Education, October 2017

October 30th, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

Board of Education
Oct. 10, 2017

Present: Mr. Clawson, Dr. Davidson, Mr. Dykema, Mr. Issacs, Ms. Sutherland
Also present: Superintendent Dr. Hutchings, Treasurer Mr. Christman

The meeting was called to order at 6 p.m. by President Dykema. The September minutes were approved by the board.

Dr.Hutchings reported on honors and recognitions of staff and students:

  • 21 Shaker students are National Merit Scholars Semifinalists or Commended Students. National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced in March 2018.
  • Karen DeMauro’s portfolio class has participated in The Memory Project for 3 years.
  • Artwork done by the students are donated to world youth who have faced substantial challenges. On there is a video of children in Tanzania receiving artwork done by Shaker students.
  • The first successful CommUnity Market was held and co-chaired by Roxanne Jaber, Stacy Hren, and Yvette Reynolds. The Shaker Schools PTO Council CommUnity Builders collaborated with F.A.C.E. ( Shaker School’s Center for Family and Community Engagement), the City of Shaker Heights,  Shaker Heights Library, and Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
  • The high school has been selected by NASA to host a live 20-minute downlink to astronauts aboard the International Space Station on Nov. 1. The event will be streamed live online on NASA TV. Check information

During the period of public communication to the board, a resident recommended the book Mission Impossible, which deals with erasing the achievement gap in several New York State schools.

Dr. Whittington (director of Research and Accountability) and Mr. Rateno (Director of Student Data and Accountability) highlighted findings of an annual Strategic Plan Metrics report. This is a 54-page comprehensive document concerning metrics and measures of academic progress as part of the five-year Strategic Plan. A period of discussion and questions followed.

The Board unanimously approved all personnel items dealing with appointments, changes in assignments, temporary employees, special assignments, supplemental contracts, resignations, and special assignments.

In accordance with Board policies, the third of three readings required for adoption and/or revision of board policies was unanimously approved.

Treasurer Christman’s presentation of the monthly financial report, consisting of the Financial Statements and Interim Investments for the month was accepted. The Request for Tax Advances from the County Treasurer, described as routine, was approved. At the recommendation of the Treasurer and the District’s Finance & Audit Committee, the Board approved its Five-year Financial Forecast.

Discussion followed the Treasurer’s report. It was noted that enrollment projections indicate a decline of students entering kindergarten (2018-2022). Other concerns discussed: classes may have to be downsized, hopes that real estate developments in the city will encourage families to move into Shaker, the aging of the eight school buildings, schools may need to be consolidated, outside forces affecting the district (such as legislation and changes in the tax code), the need to keep a tight look on spending, how Shaker’s First Class affects future enrollment and the “mobility factor” (continuous overturning of students’ residences).

In his report, Dr. Hutchings commented that Homecoming Weekend was the District’s “ best-ever” with two evenings of social events including Hall of Fame events, and a festival for the community, families and alumni preceding the Homecoming Football game. Special thanks goes to Holly Coughlin, executive director of the Shaker Foundation. Also thanks to custodians, the athletic department, grounds and maintenance employees who worked to make this a very successful weekend.

Mayor Leiken was a special guest at the September Equity Task Force meeting, after Superintendent Hutchings and the Mayor met to discuss equity issues. The mission of the Task Force is to identify and understand equity issues in the District schools, with a particular focus on race.

Dr. Hutchings attended The League of Women Voters Candidates Forum on September 28th  and found it to be very informative. He reminded others of the candidates forum sponsored by the PTO with various student organizations at the High School on October 18th. It can be viewed online through a link at .

  1. It was suggested by Ms. Sutherland that a letter be drafted and sent to Representative Marcia Fudge to address the changes to the tax code and how they may effect the school district. This was met with general agreement as a good idea.
  2. The Board expressed appreciation to Ms Sutherland for her work on the Board for 12 years.

She is stepping down at the end of the year.

The meeting adjourned for executive session at 8:45.


Anne Batzell, observer









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