Board of Education, February 2018

March 3rd, 2018  |  Published in Observer Reports

Board of Education
Feb. 13, 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 Board President Jeffrey Isaacs at 6 p.m. The agenda for this meeting can be found here.

The meeting opened with brief comments by Lindsay Florence, Mercer Elementary School Principal.

The minutes of the Jan. 9 organizational and regular board meeting were approved.

Recognition/Honors of Staff/Students: The Martha Jennings Foundation, a Cleveland-based organization that promotes more effective teaching in Ohio’s secular schools pre-k through high school, featured Shaker’s First Class preschool (at Mercer and Onaway) in a recent issue of its newsletter, Pro Excellentia. Art by two Fernway students (Zara Craig and Elliott Hannah) is being displayed in Columbus for a month at the State Teachers Retirement Systems Building.

Mr. Isaacs offered the opportunity for public conversation with the board: one comment was made about a resident’s frustration with the BOE’s communications and accountability.

An update on the Equity Task Force followed, given by Herlinda Bradley, its chair, and David Peake, co-chair. This task force was established in June 2017 and is part of the ongoing five-year Strategic Plan on removing barriers to help all students achieve at a higher level. The presenters stressed the importance of having a shared definition of equity itself and have worked toward a shared understanding and language. Note: school board member Ayesha Hardaway is a member of this task force. The task force is working on how to update the Shaker community.

Due to a high number of Shaker Heights Teachers Association (SHTA) attendees at this meeting, the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the SHTA was moved up in the agenda. The recommended action on approving the new three-year negotiated collective bargaining agreement between the SHBOE and SHTA, effective Jan. 1, 2018, through Dec. 31, 2020, was approved unanimously. Dr. Hutchings commented on the positive collaborative experience using interest-based bargaining to talk through the challenges of salary and benefits. He introduced and thanked the SHTA bargaining team, SHTA President Dr. John Morris and District Treasurer Bryan Christman.

The majority of the items for approval 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. Retiring at the end of this school year with a combined 88 years of service to our district are guidance counselor Eileen Blattner (47 years) and academic advisor Mary Lynn McGovern (41 years).

Highlights of the facilities update by Dr. Stephen Wilkins, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations: The BOE approved each of the following improved-project contracts reviewed by Dr. Wilkins: Fernway flat-roof improvements ($208,000 plus $21,000 contingency clause—note that all new roof repairs have a 30-year warranty); high school elevator modernization (repairing old parts, updating with newer safety features, $288,000); Onaway roofing improvements (correcting Jan. 9 resolution amount from $215,420 to $224,044 from a missed coating option).

The board approved a resolution authorizing the participation in the Ohio Schools Council Cooperative School Bus Purchasing Program for the 2018-19 school year as the BOE wishes to advertise and receive bids for the purchase of up to three school buses. The district’s goal is to replace up to four school buses per year (105 are in the fleet) to modernize and keep adding new buses to the rotation.

The board approved a resolution allowing the disposing of board-owned property valued under $10,000 that is no longer needed for school purposes: the Woodbury clock-face tower parts to be sold for $10 to the Shaker Schools Foundation.

Revision of board policies – first required reading of three. The following policies have been updated: those covering Title 9 and nondiscrimination on the basis of sex (including sexual harassment), broadcasting and taping of board meetings, student transportation services, board policy development and adoption, co-curricular and extracurricular activities, interscholastic athletics, graduation requirements, English learners, and truancy.

Treasurer Bryan Christman presented financial monthly 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). Two bond resolutions were adopted in accordance with the district’s bond issuance plan: issuance and sale this spring of series 2018A bonds of the remaining $20.1 million of the $30 million bond authority and long-term bonds to repay the short-term notes issued December 2017 ($9.9 million) that come due in July. This will minimize issuance costs and allow the district to maintain special “bank-qualified” status. Research is currently being done to replace the district’s antiquated state software system. A delegation from Shaker visited the Berea Schools to look at the Tyler’s Munis Enterprise Resource Planning System and HR/Payroll Module, used by many municipalities (including Shaker Heights) as well. The Munis system, however, needs some workarounds as it is not compatible with state software necessary for reporting purposes. A group will also visit a district using SunGuard K-12, a competing system that manages accounting, finance, procurement, human resources, payroll and other business functions. One idea generated from discussion would be for the Shaker district to create an RFP (Request for Proposal) detailing what functions it would like to see in a financial system.

Superintendent’s Report: Dr. Hutchings will deliver his final State of the Schools address to an audience of SHHS freshmen and sophomores as well as to community guests on Thursday, March 15, at 9 a.m.  This address will be streamed live to each school building and on the district’s website (shaker.org). It will also be available for viewing on the district’s YouTube channel. Strategic plan update: In June 2015, the BOE adopted the district’s current five-year strategic plan, developed after a planning process that stressed community involvement and transparency (concluding in work driven by a 44-member strategic planning team composed of community members, students, parents, faculty and staff). The district is now in the fourth year of the plan, so it’s time to begin the process for developing the next strategic plan. In February, the district was to solicit requests for proposals from consultants to assist in the plan’s development. The board plans to review the requests in March, the same month it plans to announce an application window for a new strategic planning team. The goal is to have a 2019-2024 strategic plan presented for the board’s consideration in December 2018.

The board adjourned to executive session at about 7:52 p.m.
Holly Wang

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