Board of Education, April 2018

April 29th, 2018  |  Published in Observer Reports

Board of Education
April 10, 2018

Present: William Clawson, Lisa Cremer, Ayesha Bell Hardaway, Jeffrey Isaacs, Heather Weingart; Superintendent Dr. Gregory Hutchings, 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 began with an update by Woodbury Principal Danny Young. The regular meeting followed:

  1. The minutes from the March 13 regular board meeting were approved.
  2. Recognition/Honors of Staff/Students: Five members of the first high school PenOhio team qualified to compete at the State Tournament May 19 at the College of Wooster. Mercer kindergarten student Liam Collins was the subject of a Fox 8 piece that honored Autism Awareness Month. High school students Noa Marcus and Sophia Geisler earned national medals (less than 1 percent of 350,000 submissions win) in the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Fifth grade teacher Chante Thomas-Taylor published her first illustrated children’s book. Senior Ose Arheghan was named one of 25 Young Futurists 2018 by The Root magazine. Ose will attend OSU on a full scholarship (and was our first Shaker League Chapter Legacy Intern), is a champion of the LGBTQ community, and was honored in the Social Justice and Activism category. The high school celebrated the 30th anniversary of its exchange program with Japan. The district honored with a proclamation the legacy of Dr. Robert “Doc” Schneider, retired music department chair and director of choirs, who recently died.
  3. Isaacs offered the opportunity for public conversation with the board: one person urged the board to be more transparent with respect to updating the district’s stance on gifted learning.
  4. An update on the Equity Task Force followed, given by several members of the task force, including student member Katrina Cassell. (It 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.) There will be opportunities announced shortly on community participation in equity workshops and training.
  5. Minority Students Achievement Network is a national coalition of multiracial school districts that come together to understand and eliminate opportunity/achievement gaps that persist in schools—an update was given by six high school students who attended a recent conference at Kent State. These students’ energy and passion about this conference was evident and they want to come up with a proactive action plan with a goal of increasing the GPA of minority ninth graders from 2.0 to 3.0.
  6. An update on the Gifted Policy status was given by Dr. Terri Breeden and Dr. Marla Robinson along with community team member Alex Liston Dykema. This updated policy covers annual identification of students who are gifted using an array of tools, the district’s plan for a continuum of services, written education plans, gifted education personnel, and annual report and accountability to the Ohio Department of Education
  7. Highlights of the facilities update by Dr. Stephen Wilkins, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations followed. Architects from Legat and Van Akins Aukins reviewed projects and their status by school building. A breakdown of the various projects with estimated budgets was shared along with the logic of combining bid packages to maximize savings.
  8. 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. Five staff members were recommended for continuing contract status (tenure).
  9. The board approved a resolution accepting the lowest responsible and responsive bid from Lakeland Management Systems for the high school and Onaway foundation and wall repairs and one for ABC Piping Co. for the boiler installation at the high school (and a change order credit that reflects the removal of chemical treatment components from these new boilers). The board also accepted a resolution approving the lowest responsible and responsive bid from Chagrin Valley Paving related to the parking lot improvements at the high school and Onaway.
  10. Revision of board policies: first reading of updated policy “Programs for Students Who Are Gifted” (no action). Third required reading of three: the following policies have been updated (covering Title IX and nondiscrimination on the basis of sex/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). The board voted to adopt these policies.
  11. Treasurer Bryan Christman presented monthly financial 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). Tax advances for January-March are $4.9 million ahead of last year at this time, perhaps due to the changes in the tax laws and people trying to pay ahead. Included in other local revenue YTD is the receipt of $1.7 million of capital expenses (primarily the middle school flat roof and cafeteria ceiling projects) paid for by the General Fund prior to the issuance of bonds, now reimbursed from the bond issuance proceeds received in late December ($9.9 million bond anticipation notes). On March 28, we priced $20.1 million of bonds and on April 4, $8.395 million of bonds, proceeds of which will be used to refund the bond anticipation notes issued in December. In summary, the district’s overall finances are on target with expectations at this time.
  12. Superintendent’s report: Students of the Shaker Schools traveled during spring break. The largest group was 67 students from the high school choir and orchestra who performed in Greece, as well as two immersion groups, one to Costa Rica and one to Morocco. Dr. Hutchings reviewed with the board a plan for declining enrollment, with four options as far as attrition of staff and refilling (or not) open positions. Mr. Christman reviewed the financial considerations and savings with each of the four attrition options. The board asked questions of both and will study this topic and do more in-depth research in coming up with a direction to take.

The meeting adjourned at 9:25 p.m.
Holly Wang

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