Board of Education, Jan. 14, 2020

January 17th, 2020  |  Published in Observer Reports

Present: Board President Jeffrey Isaacs and board members Ayesha Bell Hardaway, Lisa Cremer, Emmitt Jolly and Heather Weingart; Superintendent Dr. David Glasner, Treasurer Bryan Christman, Executive Director of Communications & Public Relations Scott Stephens, Director of Buildings & Grounds David Boyer, Director of Primary Education Dr. Erin Herbruck, Director of Pupil Services Elizabeth Kimmel, Preschool Coordinator Kristin Koengsberger, High School Principal Eric Juli, Assistant Principal Tiffany Joseph, and teachers Stacey Steggert and Marc Enie

The meeting was called to order by Mr. Isaacs at 6 p.m. The agenda may be found here.

Mr. Isaacs explained to the public there would be an organizational meeting to install newly elected board members and elect new officers preceding the regular meeting. Mr. Isaacs then welcomed three Lomond Elementary School 4th grade students to share their IB experiences, followed by comments from Lomond Interim Principal George Clark.

Mr. Christman administered the oath of office to new board member Dr. Emmitt Jolly and returning member Jeffrey Isaacs. Heather Weingart was then nominated and unanimously elected president of the school board for 2020 and Ayesha Bell Hardaway was nominated and unanimously elected vice president for 2020. The board then unanimously agreed to serve without pay and approved several motions renewing various statutory requirements.

Ms. Weingart opened the regular meeting with a vote on the approval of the Dec. 10, 2019, board meeting minutes. The minutes were approved without comment.

Ms. Weingart then opened the meeting to public comment. Angela Chapman introduced herself and the members of the NewONEShaker group promoting equity in the community.

Superintendent Glasner shared the sad news of the death on Jan. 10 of Marcia Joan Jaffe, a beloved retired teacher and cofounder of SGORR. A fund will be established in her honor by SGORR and other events are being planned to commemorate her contribution to the community.

Dr. Glasner then acknowledged students and staff for special recognition: Shaker Heights High School is the No. 1 public high schoolin Ohio, according to PolarisList, a website that gathers data from public and private high schools nationwide and ranks them based on how many students from a high school matriculate at top colleges. Currently, the site tracks Harvard, Princeton and MIT.

The high school has been selected as a German American Partnership Program (GAPP) School of Distinction, which recognizes schools for their outstanding engagement and best practices that facilitate youth exchanges in their school, community, and beyond. Congratulations to German teachers Keith Szalay and Andrea Bradd Cook.

The SHHS class of 1950-51 and PTO are bringing Improbable Players to our district later this month. Improbable Players is a theater group whose work focuses on addiction, alcoholism and the opioid epidemic. There will be two in-school performances and one evening public performance on Thursday, Jan. 23.

The Communications Department, led by Assistant Director Kristen Miller, implemented a new staff Intranet site on shaker.org. The new site provides a password-protected home for employee-specific information.

Members of the boys and girls basketball teams got a special preview before the Cavaliers-Charlotte Hornets game Jan. 2. They were invited to watch warm-ups with the players, including Shaker alum and Charlotte point guard Terry Rozier (SHHS ’12).

Mr. Stephens introduced Betty J. Halliburton, Partnership Specialist, U.S. Department of Commerce – U.S. Census Bureau, for a presentation about the importance for school districts to get an accurate count during the 2020 Census. The census occurs only once each decade and an education budget of $675 billion is at stake, particularly affecting special needs and low income students. There will be a special effort to count babies aged 0-5 years. Ms. Halliburton stressed that there was no citizenship question and that all people should be encouraged to answer the census online if possible. The census will begin in March and there are many local census worker positions available to adults over age 18 paying $22.50 per hour to work in their own neighborhood and earn some college tuition money.

A Fernway School update was provided by Mr. Boyer along with Todd Gerber, Gilbane Senior Project Manager, and Christopher P. Dewey, Principal Architect, Van Auken Akins Architects. The interior work will be substantially complete by May 15 and final completion is on track for the first day of classes Aug. 19, 2020. All wall studs, and mechanical, electrical and water installations, are complete and insulation is installed on the second floor. Drywall is next. Roof trusses are set, sheathing is complete, and slate tiles are being mounted. The added parking along Dewey Street requires a zoning variance, which will be presented to neighbors Jan. 30 and then to City Council Feb. 4.

Director of Primary Education, Dr. Erin Herbruck, along with Ms. Elizabeth Kimmel, Director of Pupil Services, and Mrs. Kristin Koengsberger, Preschool Coordinator, reviewed changes to Shaker Schools Early Childhood Program. The goal is to expand the preschool offerings with class compositions that are reflective of the Shaker community. Preschool offerings currently cost $11,000 per student per year, and in order to expand, some changes will be made to the program, including an increase in tuition for the full-day “Shaker’s First Class” program and the implementation of tuition for the half-day “Integrated Preschool” program. The changes: The new “Early Childhood Program – Full Day” will accept up to 18 students per class aged 3-5 years for two classrooms offered only at Onaway School, with paraprofessional support based on student need. Tuition will increase from $8,000 to $9,000 per year, with free or reduced meal eligibility rather than full scholarships.

The new “Early Childhood Program – Half-Day” will remain at Onaway with five classrooms of 16 students per class and paraprofessional support based on student need. Tuition of $2,000 per year will be charged for students without special needs, and free or reduced meal eligibility.

There will be an enrollment lottery due to the level of interest. Program information will be shared publicly on or around Jan. 17; information sessions will be held Jan. 23 and Jan. 27, with applications due Feb. 7 and acceptance notifications made Feb. 21.

High School Principal Eric Juli, Assistant Principal Tiffany Joseph and teachers Stacey Steggert and Marc Enie provided an update on their culture and community efforts. The goal is a culture of trust and risk-taking between students, faculty, and staff whereby each student feels connected to at least one adult in the school.

Ms. Weingart asked the board for approval of all personnel actions and reports. All were approved. Ms. Weingart additionally invited public comment regarding the proposal to reemploy retiree Lisa Gibson as senior administrative assistant, the position Ms. Gibson held before her retirement. There were no public comments.

Dr. Glasner recommended authorizing the execution and delivery of an electricity audit agreement between the District and Power4schools’ partner, Yankel and Associates. These audits have historically identified billing errors in favor of school districts amounting between $5,000-$23,000 per district. The recommendation was approved unanimously.

Dr. Glasner recommended ratifying the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Shaker Heights Board of Education and the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers, Local 200, SEIU, reducing the pay of member Isaiah Leak by $1 per hour of pay effective from Oct. 21, 2019, until he obtains his required student endorsement for his CDL license. The recommendation was approved unanimously.

Dr. Glasner recommended the school board adopt a Resolution Opposing the State of Ohio EdChoice Scholarship (Voucher) Program. The recommendation was approved unanimously.

Dr. Glasner presented a second reading of recommended revisions to 13 board policies. A third reading and vote on these policy revisions will occur at the next board meeting.

Mr. Christman presented the monthly financial report and the transfer between funds for the fiscal year to date through November 2019: Real estate tax revenue received YTD was $4.2 million, or 15% more than the prior year, due to a return to a normalized receipt pattern of real estate tax revenue following the perturbations caused by the federal tax law deductions changes for 2018. The district is expected to receive approximately the same State Foundation funding in Fiscal 2020 as in Fiscal 2019. Other local revenue was $206,063, or 30% more than the prior year. Other state revenue was $118,071, or 86% more than the prior year due to the $117,616 receipt in October representing one-half of the annual amount for the new Student Wellness & Success Funds enacted with the new state biennial budget. Investment earnings were $175,050, or 30.8% more than the prior year. The expenditure activity for the month and for the fiscal YTD was $0.6 million or 1.6% more than the prior year amount, due primarily to timing differences in payments and expected growth in certain expenses. In summary, the district’s overall finances are on target with expectations at this time. The financial report was approved.

Mr. Christman next presented a recommendation to adopt the 2020-2021 Tax Budget and was directed to file the tax budget with the Cuyahoga County Budget Commission.

Dr. Glasner reported on his discussions last week with the Educational Equity Policy team, his sharing with State Senator Matt Dolan the results of meetings with Shaker residents regarding their opposition to EdChoice, his meeting with the district PTO Council Jan. 13, the “Hey Shaker” podcast on EdChoice, and the Facebook Live event scheduled Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. regarding Educational Equity.

The board adjourned the public session at 8:32 p.m.
Frank Goforth, observer

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