Board of Education, January 2018

February 4th, 2018  |  Published in Observer Reports

Board of Education
Jan. 9, 2018

Present: William Clawson, Lisa Cremer, Ayesha Bell Hardaway, Jeffrey Isaacs, Heather Weingart; Superintendent Dr. Gregory Hutchings, and Treasurer Bryan Christman

The meeting was called to order by immediate past board vice president Jeffrey Isaacs at 6 p.m., at which time he gave a brief explanation of the purpose and protocol for the organizational (first meeting in 2018) and regular board meeting. The agenda for this meeting can be found here.

The meeting began with brief comments by Carina Freeman, Lomond Elementary School principal.

The Organizational Meeting: The three newly elected school board members, Lisa Cremer, Ayesha Bell Hardaway, and Heather Weingart, each took an oath of office under the guidance of Bryan Christman. Then the one-year terms of president and vice president of the board were voted on by the five members: Mr. Isaacs was elected president and Mr. Clawson, vice president. Other procedural annual and organizational tasks were passed, including setting the date and time of regular board meetings, making appointments and memberships, authorizing the superintendent to set fees for items like student lunches and certain classes; and authorizing the superintendent to seek grants and funding programs, etc.

The Regular Business Meeting followed. Mr. Isaacs offered the opportunity for public conversation with the board. Public comments on topics such as the Equity Task Force, state report card, and the Shaker Library levy followed. Due to the attendance of many interested in the Library levy, the agenda item “Resolution to Approve Shaker Heights Public Library Tax Levy Ballot Issue” to be placed on the May 8, 2018, ballot was moved up in the agenda. After a brief discussion, the vote was unanimous to place the Library levy on May’s ballot. Approval is required by Ohio law since the Shaker Library is a school district library and it was the Library Board of Trustees voted to place this levy on the ballot.

The minutes from Dec. 11, 2017, regular board meeting and Dec. 8 and 9 special meetings were approved. The Superintendent recognized students and faculty in his remarks, highlighting 74 scholastic awards in visual arts by the Cleveland Institute of Art to middle and high school students; senior Christian Guest’s record-setting 57 points in a basketball win over Mentor, and the doctorate degree bestowed by CSU on Stacey Steggert, high school intervention specialist.

The majority of the items on the published agenda involved action on personnel matters, such as new appointments, changes in assignments, temporary employees, special assignments, and resignations, all of which were approved and are listed in detail on the published agenda.

Highlights of the facilities update by Stephen Wilkins, assistant superintendent of business and operations: The goal for capital projects is still to have facilities warm, safe, and dry, using the $30 million capital bond. New furniture to create new learning environments was piloted in 10 classrooms in November and surveys pre and post will be assessed. Improvement costs are estimated for the year 2018 to be a little over $11 million, as indicated in board packet support materials. The business department is working closely with the treasurer’s office to accurately balance actual costs of projects upon completion. Legat Architects is serving as project managers overseeing the bidding process. All contracts are subject to board approval. As priorities change, the funding can change, as long as funds are going to capital improvements; for example, the high school media center is being looked at by the board’s facilities advisory committee, which will make recommendations to the full board. The treasurer has reimbursed the district general fund for the money allocated for repairs to the middle school roof. All buildings have updated outside lighting, cameras, and alarm systems, and there will be additional security upgrades using double barrel entrances. Members of the board complimented the practice of securing multiple bids for projects, taking advantage of tax breaks, and slowing down the process while adjusting to new priorities if they arise. Dr. Hutchings reminded the board that the $30 million wasn’t going to cover all the needed repairs and updates in the district, so there is a definite order of critical needs addressed first.

The board approved contracts to replace the parking lot at Onaway and the south parking lot at the high school. It also approved of contracts for the Onaway ($224,000) and Woodbury ($1.2 million) roof improvements – especially for the flat roof sections.

Revision of board policies – third reading (first reading, Nov. 8, and second Dec. 11, 2017): The board voted to approve the recommended policies (fiscal accounting and reporting; first aid regulations; college credit-plus regulations; interrogations and searches; and student fees, fines, and charges) as amended for consistency.

Mr. Christman presented financial monthly, year-end, and budget reports, and highlighted what is happening as far as the state budget and Shaker funding (details of each financial report are included as exhibits to the published agenda available online). The board amended its previously adopted appropriation accounts to include the new permanent improvement fund to collect money reflected in the December 2017 bond issuance.

Superintendent’s report: the State Superintendent has reported there will be changes to the state report card based on recommendations and input from our own First Ring Superintendents Group to clear up confusion in language of K-3 literacy means and modifying the high school test retake results to reflect improvement in the report grade. Dr. Hutchings also credited the Midwest Equity Assistance Center for its organization training and technical support and commended it as a great resource to our community.

The board adjourned to executive session at about 8:27 p.m.
Holly Wang

January 23, 2018, Board of Education Work Session: Anne Batzell observed this session, which was mainly the presentation to the board of the mid-year strategic planning report as led by Dr. Terri Breeden, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, and other administrative staff.


Comments are closed.