Board of Education, May 14, 2019

July 9th, 2019  |  Published in Observer Reports

Present: Board President Jeffrey Isaacs and board members Bill Clawson, Lisa Cremer, Ayesha Hardaway, and Heather Weingart; Interim Superintendent Dr. Stephen Wilkins, and Treasurer Bryan Christman

The meeting was called to order by Board President Jeffrey Isaacs at 6 p.m. The board approved the minutes of its April meetings.

Dr. Wilkins recognized the following:

  • Senior Corin Manning was awarded the University of Cincinnati Darwin T. Turner Scholarship (which seeks to enrich the educational environment for undergraduate students by supporting the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students with high potential for academic success. The scholarship covers eight semesters of tuition, all student fees, and books. Seniors Erin Harris and Christopher Scott were named Morrill Scholars at Ohio State University; this is Ohio State’s premier diversity/merit scholarship program, rewarding academically talented students who are actively engaged in diversity-based leadership, service and social justice activities. Both Erin and Christopher will receive full-tuition scholarships.
  • Art Exposed 2019, the annual showcase of artwork by Shaker Heights Middle and High School art students, opened Friday, May 10, at the Shaker Heights Main Library. The show ran through May 22 and a selection of artwork will be for sale.
  • Two-thirds of the Shaker Heights High School students who took the 2019 National Greek Exam earned awards. Thirty-one Shaker Heights High School students earned honors on the 2019 Ohio K-12 Chinese Essay Contest. Six Shaker Heights High School Latin students were winners in the 2019 CAMWS (Classical Association of the Middle West and South) Latin Translation Contest. Sixty Shaker Heights High School Spanish students earned honors on the 2019 National Spanish exam.
  • Shaker Heights High School boys and girls tennis coach Al Slawson celebrated his 1,000th career win as a Shaker coach on April 16 at home versus Westlake. Coach Slawson’s career has spanned more than 50 years.
  • Shaker Heights High School’s Theatre Arts Department earned four nominations for its production of “Pippin” in Playhouse Square’s Dazzle Awards.
  • On April 23, students in Miss Burns’s first-grade class at Onaway welcomed two special visitors to their classroom: Silver MacDonald, Head of LEGO North America, and Steffanie Forbes, Regional Account Manager for LEGO Education.
  • Eight Shaker Heights High School students earned recognition on the 2018-19 Medusa Mythology Exam, an international standardized exam for students who are enthusiastic about mythology.

Members of the Student Advisory Council (totaling 24 students) gave an annual update, which included highlights on learning about restorative practices and having some specialized meetings with guest speakers from the district. This year freshmen were invited to serve on this committee as well. 

Brian Berger, Social Studies teacher, and students presented an update on their service trip to Laos over spring break.

Continuing contract teachers, whose names were on the agenda, were honored.

Kristen Miller, assistant director of communications, updated the board on the first annual Kindergarten-Kickoff registration event for the class of 2032 was held April 27: an open house with 15 stations to expose new families to the district. More than 50 volunteers helped out and all K-4 principals and PTO representatives along with eight teachers greeted all the families. Turnout was good—150 families made reservations and 110 families attended. Next year’s event will be held Sunday, April 25, 2020 at Lomond.

Danny Young, principal of Woodbury, gave an update on the new Woodbury School schedule: 100 students are divided into communities of four teachers, with a five-day rotation schedule of special subject classes and five days of recess.

There was no update on facilities and capital projects at this meeting.

Eric Juli was approved as the new principal of the High School. He gave a brief address after he was introduced. Due to Dr. Wilkins’s announced departure for Alexandria, Virginia (where former superintendent Dr. Gregory Hutchings is now superintendent), Dr. Glasner’s appointment as superintendent was modified and became effective on June 15, 2019. 

All personnel updates and changes were approved.

The following business items were approved: an agreement with and conveyance of a portion of the Fernway site to the city of Shaker Heights for a grant application, and flex summer hours for the district’s secretarial and clerical employees.

The board had the third of three readings on revisions of board policies in five areas. The board then had the first of three readings on additional board policies, including the qualifications and duties of the treasurer, student attendance issues, and suspension.

The board approved a routine request for the Shaker Heights City School district to be voluntary members of the Ohio High School Athletic Association with regards to interscholastic athletic programs.

The Treasurer’s report for April: real estate tax revenue received YTD this year was $7.4 million, or 10.2 percent less than last year due primarily to the timing of advance amounts paid out by the county in early calendar year 2018; the advance amounts were affected by accelerated tax payments made by residents in advance of the Jan. 1, 2018, federal income tax law changes limiting state and local tax deductions. The reduced collections include $433,058 less in delinquent tax collections during the first half of 2019 as compared to the same period in 2018. Also included in these YTD tax receipts was the first Shaker Plaza TIF payment totaling $386,036, which included a catch-up payment for part of calendar 2017; the second payment for the Shaker Plaza TIF received in April; and $84,406 for the preliminary Van Aken Plaza TIF. Investment earnings are $0.4 million, or 61.3 percent more than last fiscal year-to-date.

Other local revenue totals $1.7 million, or 47.5 percent less than the prior year, due primarily to the nonrecurring receipt in the prior fiscal year of a $1.7 million reimbursement for the Middle School roof project from the bond issuance fund. Additionally, the district received $120,611 less from the state for certain payments as compared to the prior fiscal year.

The district is expected to receive approximately the same State Foundation funding in Fiscal 2019 as in Fiscal 2018 due to being on the “guarantee” funding method. Due to minor variations in the guarantee calculations coupled with a negative adjustment for the Fiscal 2018 payment, the district currently projects this line item to be $79,846 below budget as projected through the end of the fiscal year.

Federal receipts YTD this year were $81,320, or 21.7 percent more than the prior year primarily due to the $118,677 higher Medicaid settlement payment received this fiscal year as compared to last fiscal year, partially offset by the nonrecurring September 2017 receipt of a $49,706 Medicaid reimbursement settlement payment delayed from the previous fiscal year.

The district’s required five-Lyear financial forecast was approved by the board, and the treasurer was directed to file this forecast with the Ohio Department of Education. This is required by law and the forecast is used as a planning tool.

Additional comments by Treasurer Bryan Christman included:

  • eFinanceplus conversion work is still taking place, with a deadline of July 1 to use the new system.
  • Legislative items: House Bill 166 (the operating budget) does not include any new school financing strategies but keeps the guarantees that Shaker expected; HB 154 dissolves and replaces academic distress commissions.
  • On May 7, 79 local school district levies passed out of 194 on the ballot (76 percent passage rate).

Incoming Superintendent David Glasner presented his vision for restructuring administrative staff, with Dr. Marla Robinson to serve as Chief of Academics overseeing two new positions: Director of Primary Education (pre K-4th grade) and Director of Secondary Education (5th-12th). Dr. Erin Herbruck will serve as interim Executive Director of Human Resources (Dr. Wilkins also thanked Lois Cavucci for her years of service in that post). Dr. Terri Breeden will be the Chief of Strategy and Equity Policy and will oversee Chris Rateno, Director of Data and Accountability. The job of Chief Operating Officer (Dr. Wilkin’s prior position) will be posted as well.

The public session of the meeting adjourned at 8:55 p.m.Mr. Isaacs thanked Dr. Wilkins and Lois Cavucci for their service.  announced the next School Boarding meeting will happen June 11, 6:00 pm in the High School small auditorium.

The board adjourned the public session at 8:55 pm.

Holly Wang, observer

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