Observer Reports

Board of Education, July 2018

September 3rd, 2018  |  Published in Observer Reports

Shaker Heights Board of Education

July 17, 2018

Shaker Heights Administration Building

 

The meeting was called to order by Board President Jeffrey Isaacs at 6:00 p.m.

 

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

 

The Board Approved the minutes of the June 12th Board Meeting.

 

  • Interim Shaker Schools Superintendent Dr. Wilkins thanked Fire Chief Sweeney and his crew in attendance for their hard work on Fernway.  Over 20 neighboring fire companies also responded to spell Shaker’s crew.  Dr. Wilkins and Chief Sweeney also thanked the Fernway community for providing water, food, bathrooms for the firefighters. Mayor David Weiss also recognized and thanked the SH Fire Department for their efforts and dedication.
  • Updates were provided by several students and the Superintendent regarding the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council. There are several groups of students meeting to consider proposals and projects.  Note there was no public comment offered at the meeting.
  • Wilkins recognized the following students: senior Leo Schirokauer who is the first place winner of the Bayer Bee Care Program’s Young Beekeeper Award and won $3,000 for his work.  Rising sophomore Dalton Mosley won the MAC Scholars Gold Medal for his academic improvement from a 2.9 to 4.0 from 8th grade to 3rd quarter of his freshman year.  The MAC Scholars program was founded in  1990 and gives mentoring opportunities to high-achieving African-American male juniors and seniors to younger students.  SHHS ’18 grad Josie Lowell and rising senior Elizabeth Bugenske for earing All-American Hornors for Lacross.  Rising senrios Chachi Gustafon and Lyle Yost earned All-American Honors in boys swimming and diving.
  • The Equity Task Force update by Carina Freeman, Lomond Principal, gave highlights of work done and future projects on the books including a Book Chat by the authors of “All-American Boys” on October 1 at the SHHS at 7 pm and a film night discussion on the struggle for integration.
  • New operations manager Dave Boyer reviewed the various school building projects currently being worked on.  His report was supplemented by consultants and architects assigned to these projects: Onaway parking lot, District’s capital classroom pilot upgrades, MPH room Mercer; Mercer water line installed and inspected, fire alarms bidding out; security cameras mostly installed.
  • The bulk of the meeting covered the Fernway School fire July 10th.  Dr. Wilkins reviewed a power point presentation that covered status so far.  NOTE — please go to orgdistrict’s website for a new page highlighted on the home page that deals solely with Fernway.  All district communications/photos/task force plans have been added to this new page on Fernway.  This is the best place to get the most up to date information about the fire.  Daily staff meetings have been happening – and daily communications are coming out from the Communications and Public Relations department.  Ideas were discussed on how to let non school families be updated on this situation.
    1. Bottom line -the fire did not go below the roof level due to a cement fire deck between the roof and the rest of the building.  However, it is estimated 400,000-500,000 gallons of water were poured on the fire…so there is water damage.  Not so much smoke damage below again due to the fire deck.  At this point in time (July 17), the ongoing investigation by the fire department has not been completed.  This will determine insurance implications.  No one was hurt in the fire.
    2. An interesting presentation by the company doing the fire recovery (All Disaster Services of Cleveland) highlighted the various complicated steps involved in recovery/stabilizing the building: first securing the site, then removing water and debris, removing and accounting for contents, restoring utilities, adding eventually a temporary roof.  The school board members and Fernway personnel have walked through the building and those who work in Fernway were able to go to their classrooms and account for their belongings and identify what is important to them.  The company has been salvaging what it can — lots of students chairs and desks; most of contents of the Library is salvageable.  Air quality is being tested for particulate matter; and monitors for mold are working.
    3. A goal of August 1st has been set for the district, whose Fernway task force is meeting daily, to come up with temporary locations for Fernway students for August 22 — looking at other buildings, modular classrooms, and spaces in Shaker school buildings.  A community meeting for Fernway residents was set for July 19th at Lomond School.
    4. People often ask what they can do in crisis situations and a fund within the Shaker Schools Foundation to aid Fernway teachers to make their new classrooms their own has been set up.  Go to org/foundationfor more information or one can donate here.
  • The following business items were approved: a change order for the High School parking lot and Onaway parking lot improvements to accommodate more drainage repairs and ADA ramp improvements; an acceptance of a bid to purchase 2 more school buses.
  • The third reading of board policies revisions listed in the agenda occurred and were approved.
  • Financially, the fiscal year 2018 closed June 30th.   Christman also reported on the following legislative items:
  • State Rainy Day Fund is nearly at its statutory maximum of $2.7 billion after Governor Kasich announced a deposit of $657.5 million from the FY18 surplus.
  • ECOT: The 10th District Court of Appeals ruled that ECOT has the right to seek court review of the State Board of Education’s vote to claw back $60million in per student funding. The court ruled that the recovery decision was a quasi-judicial proceeding and thus subject to appeal, overturning a Franklin County Court of Common Pleas ruling.
  • Fiscal 2017-18 State Budget Final Status: State General Revenue Fund fiscal year revenues through June 2018 ended with a $280 million favorable variance while expenditures ended with a $537 million favorable variance,for a net favorable variance of $817 million.
  • Crowd Funding: The Auditor of State has issued a report entitled “BestPractices on Crowd Funding by Teachers”. Some of the suggestions includerequiring crowd funding (CF) campaigns to be reviewed and approved bydesignated school administrators; reviewing to ensure no violations offederal or state laws; ensuring that they comport with the district’sphilosophy; determining appropriateness of the direction of proceedsdistribution; in addition to others.
  • Fair Share Fees: The U.S. Supreme Court issued their ruling for the “Janus vs. AFSCME” case declaring that “fair share” union fees are no longer allowed. The District received lists of non-member “fair share” contributorsfrom the applicable union organizations for which the District ceased such payroll withholdings effective with the July 1st paycheck.

10)  Dr. Wilkins reported that the June session of SELF (Summer Exploration, Learning and Fun) had 543 participantes in 39 programs in June and now 413 participants in 19 programs for July.  A group of students and staff from the HS Asian Studies program traveled to Japan.  Also, a groups of HS German students visited Shaker’s sister school in Goslar; this exchange program is the longest standing exchange between a U.S. school and a German school in the country.  Lastly a group of 11 Shaker students traveled to and performed in Italy with the Cleveland Wind Youth Symphony.

 

The Board adjourned the public session at 8:01 pm.

 

Respectfully submitted by Observer Holly Wang

 

 

Library Board of Trustees, August 2018

August 25th, 2018  |  Published in Observer Reports

Library Board of Trustees
Aug. 20, 2018
Present: Board members Bertsch, Cicarella, Gleisser, Katz, Meinhard (arrived 20 minutes late), and Williams. Absent: Garrett
Community comments were invited, and Frank Goforth, a Shaker resident who had spoken at a previous meeting about his concerns about plans to pay off the long-term debt that the renovation project would entail, reported that he has subsequently spoken with Mr. Meinhard about the issue. He also said that he thought it necessary that Library, Schools, and City have more proactive conversations about issues of mutual interest rather than reacting.
Lynn Miller, Bertram Woods branch manager, gave a presentation about that library facility and operation.
Board President Gleisser noted an effort to have a joint meeting of the boards of Shaker Heights Library and Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library, to be arranged, perhaps in October or November.
The Fiscal Officer reported that revenues were running above budget figures and expenditures were within budget. Financial statements were approved. Revenue from 2018 property reappraisals will not be known until later in the year, but likely to result in an additional $130,000 (possibly, subject to appeals).
The bulk of the meeting was devoted to discussion about the Library’s “planning to plan” activities in regard to the renovation project. Funds from the levy will not be available until 2019, so the current concern is to map out the steps to be taken in project planning, both as to construction and to financing, to be able to proceed in the most efficient way. Identification of bond counsel, possibly municipal advisor, and owner’s representative and design process was discussed. Also of concern was communication with the community, formation of a facilities committee, and the associated timelines.
Quarterly usage report was presented (up slightly), and study of “fee-free” libraries elsewhere noted.
Director Switzer and library staff have made a review of policies and presented three changes which were approved: wording about financials to bring it into line with Ohio state law, special services (copies, faxing), and meeting room arrangements and fees. Other policies involving staffing and personnel were presented and remained on first reading (no vote).
Gifts to the Library were accepted and personnel changes reported. Attention has been given to active-shooter situation training. Next all-staff meeting will be focused on harassment.
Kathleen Hickman

Finance Committee, August 2018

August 24th, 2018  |  Published in Observer Reports

Finance Committee
August 20, 2018

Members Present: Council members Sean Malone (chair), Nancy Moore, Earl Williams, and Robert Zimmerman; citizen members Thomas Cicarella, Martin Kolb, Linda Lalley, and Anthony Moore
Others present: Mayor David Weiss, Chief Administrative Officer Jeri Chaikin, Director of Public Works Patricia Speese, Director of Finance Robert Baker, Assistant Finance Director Cheryl Arslanian, Assistant Fire Chief James Heath, auditors Chad Gorfido and Alex Pizor

The meeting was called to order by Mr. Malone at 7:30 a.m.

 Agenda—Committee actions:

  1. The minutes of the July 16, 2018, meeting were approved.
  2. Speese recommended awarding a contract to GPD Group for consulting services for the Fernway sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) project in the amount of $79,112 so the city can proceed with this improvement. The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) will reimburse the city $39,556 of this cost. Shaker Heights was awarded a grant through the sewer district’s Member Community Infrastructure Program (MCIP) to mitigate the number of activations at the SSO at Fernway and Ingleside roads. The estimated cost for the project, including construction, is estimated to be $800,000. NEORSD will reimburse the city for 50 percent of the project cost. Mr. Malone asked if consultant studies like this had been done for past projects. Ms. Speese answered that the city had recently begun to do so for complex projects. Ms. Lalley asked if GPD would consult on future SSO projects. Ms. Speese said GPD may or may not be used, because each SSO project is different. Nancy Moore commented that the recommendation was approved unanimously by the Safety & Public Works Committee. She further commented that Cleveland Heights is working on their SSO under a consent decree with the EPA, which we want to avoid. The city’s Public Works Dept. has now proactively addressed two of Shaker’s seven SSO locations. Ms. Lalley asked if the $800,000 was an estimate. Ms. Speese said it was, and that the contract with GPD was part of upfront due diligence for the project. Ms. Speese said the project would start this fall and be completed next year. Mr. Malone asked if there was a master list of vetted consultants, and Ms. Speese said there is and that the list would be supplied to the committee. The committee approved the recommendation
  3. Speese requested an appropriation of $100,000 for the Larchmere/Kendall parking lot Green Infrastructure Grant from the NEORSD. These funds will be reimbursed by NEORSD at the completion of the project. The estimated cost for this parking lot improvement was originally $135,000, which includes design and construction. The city’s application included an 80/20 split. Shortly after starting construction, contaminated soil was encountered where a 1920s-vintage gas station had been located. The soil is now considered hazardous waste. The removal will cost an extra $137,000, doubling the project cost. Mr. Williams asked whether an insurance claim had been pursued and Ms. Speese said “not yet.” The request was approved.
  4. Chief Heath asked the Finance Committee to accept a grant from the State Board of Emergency Medical, Fire, and Transportation Services and appropriate $3,360 to the Fire Department operating budget for the purpose of purchasing EMS supplies for the department’s rescue squads. This item was approved by the Safety & Public Works Committee on August 3, 2018. Mr. Cicarella remarked this seemed an easy approval but asked if more money was needed. Mr. Heath replied this was a small amount compared to EMS spending, but every little bit helps. Mr. Malone asked if this amount covered only consumable items and Mr. Heath replied it would be spent on non-consumable items as well, since Ohio has set limits on how the money may be spent. The request was approved.
  5. Baker presented a recommendation to adopt the property tax rates approved by the County Budget Commission. The County Budget Commission has set the city’s 2018 Property Tax Rate, to be collected in 2019, at 9.9 mills. Property taxes known as “inside millage” pass through a county to the municipalities inside each county. State law requires that the city adopt the tax rate determined by the Budget Commission before the taxes can be levied. The city’s property tax rate has remained unchanged since 1993. Mr. Malone noted from the memo that the 2018 reappraisal would result in approximately an 8% revenue increase for the city. Mr. Baker reminded the committee that Ohio’s House Bill 920 limits schools and libraries to a dollar value set when levies are passed, but said the city’s general fund would receive something near an 8.2% increase. Mr. Malone asked how 8% compared to past appraisals and Mr. Baker answered that the countywide increase was 9%. Nancy Moore commented that other suburbs appraised higher, and Mr. Baker said that East Cleveland appraisals decreased. Mr. Kolb volunteered he had heard that the increase in Shaker was larger, and Mr. Baker clarified that 8% was the average residential increase, while commercial appraisals increased 12.1%. Earl Williams commented that the residential market had improved. Mr. Baker asked if anyone in the room had an actual reappraisal visit, but no one had. Mr. Williams asked how often the reappraisal was done and Mr. Baker answered that it was a three-year cycle. Ms. Lalley asked, given East Cleveland’s falling values, if the county could reallocate the millage among cities. Mr. Baker replied that technically it could, but realistically it would not. He said that East Cleveland is a problem the county and state have not been able to deal with—that there seems to be no option except absorption by another city, but no city will volunteer. Ms. Lalley asked if discussions had been held with Cleveland and Mr. Baker said Cleveland was not interested in having any. Mayor Weiss changed the subject back to our own increase and asked if our valuations had recovered to pre-recession levels. Mr. Baker answered that they had. Mr. Kolb corrected this and explained that while individual values had recovered, many vacant properties had been demolished, so that the city’s total value had not fully recovered. Mr. Malone added that there were fewer vacant properties this year and Ms. Chaikin clarified that there were fewer empty houses but still many vacant lots. The recommendation was approved.
  6. Baker recommended a resolution requesting advances of the 2018 property taxes collected in 2019. Each year, the County Fiscal Office requires the city to formally request to participate in the County Fiscal Office tax-advance program for the following year. Under this program, the County Fiscal Officer will make periodic advances of up to 90% of the property taxes collected on the city’s behalf by that office as the revenue is identified. The recommendation was approved.
  7. Auditors Chad Gorfido and Alex Pizor of Rea & Associates then presented their Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). They summarized they had “no concerns” with the city’s financial processes and reporting. Earl Williams asked if the rating for the city had been upgraded from 2017 and the auditors stated the city will be back to a “low risk” rating. Mr. Baker explained that highway project payments made by the city to contractors “pass through” ODOT. ODOT in 2015 had not properly reported expenses to the city and this negatively affected the city’s books and audit. Ms. Lalley, moving to another topic, asked how far “out the wire” does Shaker extend control of its data—does it extend as far as remote workers and consultants? The auditors answered that they had no concerns regarding the IT department’s ability to maintain network and data security. Mr. Baker remarked that Shaker’s accounting system and audits are helped by the city’s participation in Ohio’s statewide pension system, OPERS. Cities with independent pensions have difficult audits. Anthony Moore asked how long Rea & Associates had been performing city audits and Mr. Baker said two years.
  8. Baker then presented the 2018 Second Quarter Budget Update. He cautioned that although income tax receipts were far ahead of 2017’s second quarter, they were lower than 2017 for June and July. He would guess that income taxes are being paid early this year due to changes in the 2018 federal tax code. He does expect 2018 to exceed 2017, but not by the same percent as the first half year. Property taxes were $418,000 ahead of 2017 through June, but have since shrunk to a $78,000 positive variance with August receipts. Receipts of “other income” are down $153,000 from 2017, mostly due to the non-repeatable income from RMS and Van Aken District construction in 2017. Expenses, which are more controllable, are running below 2017 on a percentage basis through the second quarter; with 50% of the year complete, the city’s expenses required only 48% of 2017 first half actual. Ms. Lalley asked when new Van Aken District employee income taxes will impact the budget. Mr. Baker replied that some tenants are operating, and that receipts from withholding will begin within the next two months, but they will not be reliable numbers for forecasting. Mr. Kolb noted that although net revenue less expenditures for the first half of the year was $7.6 million, only $2.9 million had been transferred to the various funds. Mr. Baker said that revenue less expenditures for the first half of 2018 were just $11,000 less than the first half of 2017, so caution was in order. Mr. Kolb reminded everyone how operating surpluses were transferred to capital project funds during the year in order to make the city function. He also hoped that the city would end the year with a greater surplus to transfer. Mr. Malone asked Mr. Baker if he felt we would still receive more revenue in 2018 than in 2017. Mr. Baker answered that 2018 tax withholding revenue was greater than 2017, which would imply that Shaker taxpayers are earning more, so if withholding turns into collection, then the city will do fine. Mr. Williams asked when the increased Shaker Library levy would impact residents and Mr. Baker answered that the levy would affect 2019 taxes based on 2018 appraisals. Mr. Baker said that decentralized purchasing by the separate departments helped the city better control expenses.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:52 a.m.
Frank Goforth

City Planning Commission/Board of Zoning Appeals, July 2018

August 24th, 2018  |  Published in Observer Reports

Board of Zoning Appeals and City Planning Commission
July 11, 2018

Present: John Boyle, Joanna Ganning, Kevin Dreyfuss-Wells, Council Member Rob Zimmerman, and Mayor David Weiss
Also present: Dan Feinstein, Planning Department; Joyce Braverman, Director of Planning; and William Gruber, Law Director

The meeting was called to order by Mayor Weiss at 7 p.m. Minutes of the June 6, 2018, meeting were approved with corrections.

City Planning Commission

Shaker Heights Country Club – Parkland Drive

Public hearing on the request of Rob Myers, Myers Homes, representing Shaker Heights Country Club for a subdivision of land and amendment to the zoning map to change the zoning on a portion of the property from “Parks and Recreation” to “Single Family Residential.”

Staff recommends continuance for the following reasons:

  1. To determine the appropriate distance from the proposed rear property line to the Doan Brook Stream bank
  2. To review the development impact of the proposed plan against proposed City Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan regulations
  3. To locate the flood plain on the plan in relation to the proposed lots
  4. To consider other controls on future development

The mayor opened the public hearing. Eight residents raised concerns about the project. The biggest concern was the “open dump” that the Country Club has maintained for years and those testifying deemed unsightly. Residents requested that this area of organic material and construction materials be remediated. Residents wondered whether the two new homes proposed would be a positive addition to the community.

Board of Zoning Appeals/City Planning Commission

Wendy’s Restaurant – 3516 Warrensville Center Road

Continuation of a public hearing on the request of Jim Moll, MUY! Hamburgers, Wendy’s Restaurant operator for a Conditional Use Permit, site plan review, variances and re-subdivision of land in order to construct a new Wendy’s Restaurant at the corner of Warrensville Center Road and Chagrin Boulevard.

The City Planning Commission Work Group discussed plans for the new building at its October, November, and January meetings. The ABR approved a design concept in January. A lengthy series of approvals was voted on by the board. Chief among them:

Site Plan Review and Variances

The percentage of parking lot/driveway facing the street, 68% instead of the required maximum of 50%, is supported with the applicant’s elimination of one of the existing access drives onto Warrensville Center Road, installation of a 3-foot-tall decorative brick-faced masonry street wall and wrought iron fence with landscaping wall along the Warrensville Center Road frontage and additional landscaping in front of the street wall/fence.

Commercial Mixed Use Variances and Conditional Use Permit

The front yard setback variance is appropriate. The building is as close to the corner as is reasonable in order to accommodate the outdoor patio and landscaping along Chagrin. The proposed 3-foot-tall decorative brick-faced masonry wall and wrought iron fence combination mitigates the visual impact of the parking lot from Warrensville Center Road. The Conditional Use Permit for the drive through is supported – it provides additional stacking space and improved circulation. Council confirmation of the Conditional Use Permit is required.

CM Design Principle Variances

Buildings should respect the street context and avoid monotonous or franchise architecture and should follow the intent of the city’s Strategic Investment Plan, which indicates that buildings should be located at the sidewalk. The building is the equivalent of a two-story building. The silver-colored blade element reduces the appearance of franchise architecture. Variances are approved with the condition that there will be no additional lighting on the blade architectural element and that the ABR will review the final design of the signage and blade element.

Parking Variances

The commission supported a variance to allow 68% of the frontage to be parking because the applicant is eliminating one of the existing driveways onto Warrensville Center Road. And the frontage is mitigated by an architectural element.

Subdivision

Re-subdivision of the land and acceptance of the vacation of a portion of the right-of-way creates a 1.07-acre parcel; the combined lot meets lot size and frontage requirements. Approved with the condition that the city and county must vacate the right-of-way and a final subdivision plat must be submitted to the city and filed with the county.

The mayor announced the continuation of a public hearing – no one was present to testify.

Board of Zoning Appeals

Diamond’s Men Store – 16832 Chagrin Boulevard

A public hearing on the request of Randall Diamond, Diamond’s Men Store, 16832 Chagrin Boulevard for a variance to the number of signs in order to have two primary wall signs. Diamond’s Men Store occupies two storefront spaces. The signs represent one continuous message across the combined storefront.

The mayor opened the public hearing. No one was present to testify.

The board approved the request, noting that the essential character of the neighborhood will not be affected since there used to be a sign for each storefront. The ABR has also reviewed Diamond’s request at two of their recent meetings.
Jan Devereaux

Board of Education, Special Meeting, July 2018

August 24th, 2018  |  Published in Observer Reports

Board of Education
Special Meeting/Work Session—Fernway Task Force
July 31, 22018

Board President Jeff Isaacs called the special meeting/work session to order at 5 p.m. He reminded those present that no questions would be taken from the audience as an open board meeting with the Fernway Taskforce was to take place Aug. 1.

The purpose of this meeting was to provide an update on the district’s insurance coverage and to describe the progress and plans for moving forward with the opening of the school year for Fernway students.

Bob Rutter, an insurance recovery expert, presented in chart form his review of the district’s insurance coverage that detailed the various provisions/coverage included in its policies. He discussed next steps, emphasizing that the process for detailing the losses should not be rushed but be carefully considered and involve experts who can provide guidance regarding categorizing items and consider the historic features of the building in order to maximize coverage.

David Glasner, executive director of curriculum and instruction, reviewed the steps involved and the decision-making process for choosing the Shared Space plan over other building and modular space options. The Fernway Shared Space Plan was presented, involving K students being housed at Fernway@Onaway, 1st grade students at Fernway@Boulevard, and 2-4th grade students at Fernway@Woodbury.

Assistant Superintendent Terri Braden discussed the back-to-school timeline with special, staggered programming for orientation of parents and Fernway students at the three shared space schools.

Plans for furnishing classrooms, bus transportation, playgrounds, lunch times and recess were also discussed.

Throughout the meeting, Fernway Principal Christopher Hayward and district staff praised the warm welcome and support they have received from the host schools’ administration and teachers in the district.

This observer had to leave before the conclusion of the discussion on temporary parking solutions for the shared schools and the review of the plan for distribution of funds from the Fernway Fund-Me account.
Terry Stoller

Board of Education, June 2018

August 24th, 2018  |  Published in Observer Reports

Board of Education
June 12, 2018

Board members in attendance: William Clawson, Lisa Cremer, Ayesha Bell Hardaway, Jeffrey Issacs (president), Heather Weingart
Also: Superintendent Dr. Gregory Hutchings Jr., Treasurer Bryan Christman

The meeting commenced at 5:30 p.m. and adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

As this observer arrived at 6 p.m., Ms. Lulling Li from the Equity Task Force was finalizing her report to the board. Updates about the Equity Task Force can be accessed on the shaker.org website.

Dr. Hutchings then presented his “Years in Review” report, summarizing his tenure as superintendent. He is soon to leave the district to become the superintendent of the Alexandria, Va., schools. He thanked his cabinet and all staff at the Shaker schools, expressing specific appreciation for the opportunity to serve as superintendent. Dr. Hutchings called attention to former board members, some of whom were in attendance and had been on the board when he was hired. He noted that he was fully aware of the opportunity given to him as a young African American who hadn’t had extensive superintendent experience and who was following a predecessor who had long held the position.

For much of an hour, Dr. Hutchings listed accomplishments during his tenure at Shaker. Saying he was “hired by the board to make changes,” a stated his belief he leaves the district in a better place than when he arrived. Below are some specifics from his comments:

 Strategic Plan 2014-2019: Thirteen months remain on the current plan. This five-year plan was expanded from the previous two-year plan. It established specific goals and adopted metrics to align with those goals. It extensively details action steps addressing the challenges facing the district and is used as a guide for all day-to-day operations. During its development, many stakeholders in the community had opportunity for input. Periodic strategic planning chats are held within the schools among staff to connect identified priorities to what goes on in the classroom. With the continued goal of transparency, the 2019-2024 strategic plan is in its planning stages. (See shaker.org)

Development of Innovative Programs: 1.The establishment of the Innovative Center for Personalized Learning (IC) provides nontraditional learning experiences for students and staff. 2. FACE, the Family and Community Engagement center, coordinates opportunities for engagement and volunteerism among parents and serves as a liaison between parents and school. 3. The creation of Shaker’s First Class—a Pre-K program that can be seen as another way to tackle the achievement gap at the nursery school level. 4. Creation of a multi-grade Summer Enrichment, Learning and Fun (SELF) program. Previously, the summer programs offered were for failing students or students with challenges to prevent summer loss. The SELF program provides a camp-style environment with varied choices for all kinds of students. It’s also an affordable, convenient way for high school students to attain credit recovery. In three years, program attendance has tripled.

Communications: Dr. Hutchings noted much improvement in this area. He feels it has been important to find a way to “tell our story.” He cautioned that communication to the superintendent should be respectful, and he encourages community members in their future dealings with the new superintendent to find “proper channels to communicate,” including the courtesy of communicating an issue first with the superintendent before going to the public. Improvements in district-wide communications include the creation of “Measuring What Matters,” a yearly report sent to every household, the superintendent’s newsletter, a comprehensive shaker.org website, Board Memos posted on the website, and the weekly board packet posted on the website under BoardDocs. In addition, everyone gets a Shaker app for iPhones.

 Security: There is greater collaboration with the Shaker Heights police and fire departments. All school entry doors are locked and visitors must be buzzed in by a security person. There is enhanced and increased video surveillance. Safety summits are held and safety plans for all schools have been developed. Security officers have received updated training and they are expected to “roll the building.”

High Quality Learning Environment Building on a Legacy of Excellence: District assessments are now a part of Strategic Metrics. Student achievement has risen and the district is in alignment with Ohio Standards. All schools, Pre-K -12, teach the IB curriculum. Former barriers to upper-level courses have been removed. Social promotion guidelines have been examined to avoid promotion without proper skills. The district is in compliance with the English Language Learners and Special Education audits. A Gifted Education Program complying with Ohio Department of Education requirements is currently being developed.

 Organizational Culture: Dr. Hutchings implemented higher standards in hiring practices, including the use of a leadership profile to determine who attains an interview. As an example, potential hires are asked to meet with a panel of interviewers and asked to teach a class as part of the interview process. Vetting protocols have been developed, but there is a need for continued organizational changes.

Professional Learning: The Department of Professional Learning was established in 2014. The following practices have been implemented: executive coaching for principals, Google training for staff, instructional coaches (selected among faculty) to assist fellow teaching staff.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Terri Breeden updated the board on the development of the Gifted Education program. At this point, the gifted planning timeline is in Phase I. Dr. David Brazer, Stanford professor and educator on leadership and equity, has acted as a consultant in the early development of a plan suitable for Shaker students. The district is required by the Ohio Department of Education to yearly assess students for identification purposes. While using instruments in compliance with ODE identification, the remainder of the Shaker plan will be developed according to the aims and needs of the district. A workgroup, headed by former board member Alex Dykema, has been involved in working on drafts of a potential plan. Students will be assessed in the area of core academics, artistic ability, and creativity. The Shaker plan states that “an array of identification tools to ensure equitable identification” will be used.

Questions and comments by board members included: what are the implications for students and parents, especially through the lens of equity; who will do assessments, what are the assessments and when will they be administered; what are the differences between the gifted program and enrichment opportunities; are there possibilities for re-assessment; how advocating for your child will be handled.

Dr. Stephen Wilkins and architect Dennis Paben reported on the ongoing capital plan and the summer construction projects, including the Woodbury, Mercer, and Onaway roofing projects, asbestos containment for boilers, work on the Middle School auditorium and outside painting, updating of security cameras and phone systems. Progress on the pilot classroom projects looked specifically at lighting components, finishes, acoustics, flexible furniture, and room arrangements. Feedback from teachers on the pilot classrooms was sought.

The board voted on approving the resolution to eliminate certain teaching positions. In April possible plans for declining enrollment were discussed by the board. From 2014 through 2018, enrollment has declined by about 100 students per year. Options addressing the issue looked at trend data, class size data, and staffing data. The resolution specifies the elimination of 10.8 full-time equivalent teachers. The effort has been to keep loss at a minimum by not employing replacements for employees who were retiring or resigning and not renewing limited contracts. This school year, no current employees will be losing jobs. The board passed the resolution 4-1, with Ms. Cremer being the dissenting vote. She was concerned about class size due to decreased staff. Assurances were made that class size will be minimally impacted at any grade level.

The board unanimously accepted the bid for the pilot classroom improvement project from Sterling Professional Group, approved using Total Environmental Services for abatement services at the high school and Mercer, and approved AVI Foodsystems as the provider of food services.

The board voted unanimously to approve the following action items and resolutions: authorization of the interim superintendent employment contract (Dr. Stephen M. Wilkins) for the term July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019; approval of a three-year bargaining agreement between the Board of Education and the Ohio Association of Public School Employees effective through June 2021; approval of a summer hours-secretarial/clerical Memorandum of Understanding.

The board also voted unanimously to approve the Ohio Dept. of Education (ODE) District Gifted Identification Plan.

Mr. Christman presented the treasurer’s monthly report consisting of financial statements and interim investments. The board approved adoption of the 2018-19 Temporary Annual Appropriations; adoption of the Shaker Heights Public Library tax budget; a resolution authorizing agreements for software and support services with NEOnet Information Technology Center and an end-user agreement for eFinancePlus.

Dr. Hutchings presented his last superintendent’s report, which was brief due to his earlier comments. He introduced Mr. David Berger who will serve as Director of Operations while Dr. Wilkins is interim superintendent for the upcoming school year.

At June’s graduation ceremony, Earline Hooper and Mary Lynne McGovern received recognition for pioneering integration of the district. Dr. Hutchings added that the district raised $17,000 for the annual American Heart Association Campaign.

As the board seeks a new superintendent, Dr. Hutchings’s last word of advice was to consider candidates carefully, with the top priority being what is good for all students in the district. Then Holly Coughlin, executive director of the Shaker Schools Foundation, shared news of the Hutchings Family Fund, initiated by the Hutchings family, which will serve as a legacy of Dr. Hutchings’s work and service to the Shaker Heights School District.
Anne Batzell

Finance Committee, June 2018

July 3rd, 2018  |  Published in Observer Reports

Finance Committee

June 18, 2018

Members Present: Committee members: Sean Malone (chair), Nancy Moore, Earl Williams, and Robert Zimmerman; Citizen members: Thomas Cicarella, Martin Kolb, Linda Lalley and Anthony Moore.

Others present: Mayor David Weiss, Chief Administrative Officer Jeri Chaikin, Director of Public Works Patricia Speese, Director of Finance Robert Baker, Assistant Finance Director Cheryl Arslanian, Planning Director Joyce Braverman, Principal Planner Ann Klavora, Human Resources Manager Sandra Middleton, Senior Human Resources Analyst Monika Hayes, Director of Building & Housing Kyle Krewson

The meeting was called to order by Mr. Malone at 7:35 a.m.

Agenda—Committee actions:

  1. Sean Malone presented the minutes of the May 21, 2018 Finance Committee meeting for approval. Marty Kolb moved to approve the minutes, Nancy Moore seconded and the minutes were approved.

 

  1. Chief Administrative Officer Jeri Chaikin presented a recommendation the city enter into a grant agreement for the Energized Community Grant Program for 2018 to NOPEC and a grant application in the amount of $60,445 toward the replacement of the boiler at the Police/Court Building. NOPEC’s Energized Community Grant Program provides funds to help member communities implement energy savings or energy infrastructure measures. Based on the rate of $8 per enrolled account for electricity, Shaker will receive $60,445 for 2018 from this program. This recommendation was approved by the Safety and Public Works Committee at their June 1, 2018 meeting.

 

Sean Malone commented that NOPEC had presented twice recently to council and were very cooperative with Shaker. Nancy Moore commented that council members wanted the administration to do all we could to publicize these savings opportunities to residents. Sean Malone added that NOPEC would provide the promotional materials. Linda Lalley asked if the $60,445 was one year or multiple years. Jeri clarified the city would receive $60,445 each year for three years. Nancy Moore moved to approve the recommendation, Marty Kolb seconded the motion and the motion was approved.

 

  1. Director of Public Works Patricia Speese presented her request to apply for and accept the NEORSD Member Community Infrastructure Program as a 50/50 grant in the amount of $850,000 for the Huntington Sanitary Sewer Overflow Mitigation project. The city’s share would be $425.000. As part of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s (NEORSD) Sanitary Sewer Evaluation Study (SSES), Shaker Height’s sanitary sewer overflows (SSO’s) were investigated. Various field data was collected and hydraulic modeling was performed by the District’s consultants. Based on this information, NEORSD met with Public Works in early May to discuss the potential of mitigating the activation of the SSO located at Huntington and Southington Roads.

 

Earl Williams asked if this work was included in the 10 year capital plan. Ms. Speese replied there are placeholders for SSO work in the plan and they are expensed as requirements and opportunities arise. Marty Kolb wished to know the total sewer repair liability for 10 years and Ms. Speese replied the total was $30 million spread over 10 years. Sean Malone remarked that this amount had been summarized at the last city council retreat. Mr. Kolb requested the committee should understand the whole liability. Mr. Malone replied this should be a special topic for detailed discussion of the whole budget at the July finance committee meeting. He then asked if this request is within the ‘set aside’ for 2018. Ms. Speese replied that it was and that this particular project was prioritized because it could be done coincident with paving of Huntington, thus saving money in the future. Rob Zimmerman commented there are many unfunded activities and this was prioritized due to the opportunity, it is a small part of a larger problem. We do not want to be find ourselves under an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) consent decree, like Cleveland Heights with 30 SSO issues. Shaker has only 7 SSO. The benefit of timing is important.  David Weiss added we have a couple of million dollars each year for sewer capital expense, having moved year end excess operating budget funds to the sewer capital fund the past couple of years. Leveraging grants to reduce cost 50% was prudent. Mr. Kolb expressed shock the liability was $30 million.  Ms. Speese remarked this detailed knowledge has been developed in the past year as part of the NEORSD  Doan Valley Tunnel Project along Doan Brook, the Van Aken sewer previously ran 80% capacity on dry days, with the tunnel it is now 20%. Mr. Kolb remarked that the hard discussions of this sewer liability were needed now. Anthony Moore asked what contingency was available if we did not receive the grant. Ms. Speese replied that spot repairs were the alternative. Mr. Moore asked if that were the best plan. Linda Lalley asked Ms. Speese to expand on the NEORSD program for the benefit of all committee members. Ms. Speese explained the NEORSD Member Community Infrastructure Program was new, in its second year, and budgeted at $10M with $7M set aside for 2018. We would have a very good chance at some funding with a 50% sharing proposal, our relations with NEORSD are good. Ms. Lalley asked if Shaker would go to the bottom of next year’s stack of proposals if we won in 2018. Ms. Speese replied each grant winner was independently determined regardless of previous wins. Mr. Moore asked if a higher percent match would improve chances. Ms. Speese replied it probably was not needed. She continued that relining sewers added 50 years to the life of a sewer. Mr. Zimmerman asked if the 10 year plan was outdated. Ms. Speese answered it was not and public works had more detailed specific knowledge to share. Tom Cicarella asked for summaries of the sewer capital plan as background for next committee meeting and then asked if there were any risks of Shaker being issued EPA consent decrees. Ms. Speese replied that the EPA had informed Shaker three years ago we were next on the list of cities to be evaluated for SSO issues. The work being done is proactive toward EPA requirements. She added that residents believe the sewers are undersized, but they are not, there is too much infiltration at joints from the adjacent storm sewers and new technology liners prevent this. Marty Kolb moved to approve the request, Nancy Moore seconded the motion and the motion was approved.

 

  1. Principal Planner Ann Klavora presented a request to authorize a grant application to, and to accept a grant from, the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grant program of the federal Department of Transportation. Grant funds will be used to design a new intermodal transit station for the RTA Blue Line and prepare detailed environmental documents and engineering plans. This project will implement the Phase 2 recommendation of the Warrensville/Van Aken Station Area Plan adopted by City Council in June 2015. The grant would be $1M from the DOT, and commit the required 20% match ($250,000) to be allocated from the City’s General Capital Fund (specific source to be determined).

 

Earl Williams commented it seems the RTA would be a partner in this application and asked if the RTA does not commit to funding, will this project succeed. Ms. Klavora responded RTA commitment was required for this application. The total project cost is estimated at $14M and RTA is applying for other grants, indeed, Shaker may be competing against RTA for this grant, which is only for design work. Mayor Weiss commented RTA has lost significant funding recently, $55M or more, while their costs exceed revenue. He was in Washington DC a week or so ago and learned the bid materials are late being delivered and this will make the bid window tight. Sean Malone expressed his frustration that this property is owned by the RTA, yet the city funds improvements, can we get a commitment from RTA? Ms. Braverman answered the planning office is adding a commitment clause. Mr. Williams asked if the city has previously committed funds to improvements to the station. Ms. Braverman replied the city funded the busways at the present station. Nancy Moore moved to approve the request, Ms. Lalley seconded the motion and the motion was approved.

 

  1. Director of Planning Joyce Braverman presented recommendation to award the contract for the City Hall Space Study and Plan to Weber Murphy Fox for a total cost of $31,280 for Phase 1 and 8% of construction costs for Phase 2 (in addition to the $8,000 for move management and FFE). The project aims to co-locate the Building and Housing Inspection Department by re-organizing department locations and functionality within City Hall. This project was expanded from the original RFP to explore the potential of renovating the adjoined Firehouse, in addition to the vacant Health Department basement space. The project will include two phases: Phase 1: Concepts for design and use of each space and related cost estimates. Phase 2: Detailed drawings, construction bid set, and updated cost estimate for the chosen option including construction services. The project is funded by 2018 Capital Budget funds. The current project budget is $200,000 for design and construction.

 

Rob Zimmerman wished to clarify if Weber Murphy Fox was a design firm or design and construction firm. Ms. Braverman responded that, yes, they were a design and construction firm with experience with older buildings, which provided the city with more confidence in their ability to meet the bid. Tom Cicarella commented he had no doubts the two finalists were both good firms but concerned about approving Phase 1 & 2 together, he asked we get an exit clause after Phase 1. Ms. Braverman confirmed they will write exit terms into the contract. Mr. Cicarella moved to approve the request, Earl Williams seconded the motion and the motion was approved.

 

  1. CAO Jeri Chaikin summarized the city’s General Liability and Property Insurance coverage for the finance committee. She then asked for volunteers from the committee to join an ad-hoc subcommittee to recommend a consultant to evaluate our current insurance program (cost; adequacy of limits; deductibles and self-insured retentions; etc.) and oversee a Request for Qualifications for agents as well as bids for insurance providers. Ms. Chaikin then introduced Monika Hayes from the Human Resources office, which handles risk management.

 

Earl Williams was familiar with risk management and volunteered immediately. David Weiss remarked he also understood risk management and asked about Social Security liability for Police and Firefighters. Human Resources Manager Sandra Middleton replied SS liability for police and fire was part of their umbrella policy. Sean Malone wished to know about the timing and scope of this study. Ms. Middleton replied the policy would have to renew on January 1 so a request for proposal would be published by September. Mr. Malone wanted to know how we would hire a broker. Ms. Middleton answered the consultant would identify and contract with the broker. Mr. Malone asked if this would be done by year end. Ms. Middleton recommended this be done in November. Linda Lalley asked if we were satisfied with our present broker. Ms. Middleton answered yes we were; the same broker for the past 20 years. Mr. Malone asked if we wanted one citizen member of the subcommittee with risk experience. Tom Cicarella remarked there were people in his firm with risk experience who can be a member, he would inquire. Rob Zimmerman commented the subcommittee should report back to the finance committee before the city council acts on the recommendation. Mr. Malone concurred and stated it would make sense to refer to this as the risk management subcommittee.

 

  1. Human Resources (HR) Manager Sandra Middleton, joined by Senior HR Analyst Monika Hayes next presented the six month update to the 2017 Human Resources Action Plan versus actual actions. There was much committee discussion about terminology and reports.

 

Tom Cicarella asked if HR handled all the required examinations and screening of police and fire personnel. Ms. Middleton confirmed this and that the civil service process was up to 4 months from decision to actual hiring, which explains the continued openings in those departments. Nancy Moore asked if the 2017 increase in claims for employee benefits was low compared to other years. Ms. Hayes replied it was average. Human Resources is responsible for risk management, so the subject was discussed again. Ms. Middleton remarked that training on driving practices yielded a 7.5% decrease in costs from 2016. Anthony Moore asked how some risk items gaining exposure, such as harassment claims, or whistleblower claims, were being managed. He wanted to know if we had an Ombudsman. Ms. Middleton answered we do not have an official ombudsman, but HR personal were trained regarding confidentiality, however, it was a very good question to investigate and recommend action. David Weiss brought up the risk management of non-performing contractors. Ms. Middleton lastly complimented the customer service/ records administration staff who handled 9000 telephone calls last year along with 9500 guests to city hall. They are very personable and have received many compliments from callers and guests.

 

Sean Malone asked if there was any other new business, there was none. Mr. Malone adjourned the meeting at 9:04 am.

 

 

Frank Goforth, observer

Board of Education, June 2018

July 3rd, 2018  |  Published in Observer Reports

Board of Education Observation, June 12, 2018

Public meeting commenced at 5:30 and adjourned at 9:30 pm

Board members in attendance:  William Clawson, Lisa Cremer, Ayesha bell Hardaway, Jeffrey Issacs (Board President), Heather Weingart

Also: Superintendent Dr. Gregory Hutchings Jr., Treasurer Bryan Christman

 

 

This observer did not arrive until 6 pm. Prior to arrival the agenda proceeded as follows:

Opening of the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance; Roll Call; Approval of May Minutes;

Public Communication to the Board; Recognition/Honors of Staff and Students.

  1. As this observer arrived, Ms. Lulling Li from the Equity Task Force was finalizing her report to the Board. Updates about the Equity Task Force can be accessed on the shaker.org website.
  2. Dr. Hutchings passionately and candidly presented his ‘Years in Review” during his tenure as Superintendent. He is soon to leave the District to become the Superintendent of the Alexandria,VA schools.  He thanked his cabinet and all staff at the Shaker Schools, as well  as expressing specific appreciation for the opportunity given to him to serve as Superintendent. Dr. Hutchings called attention to former Board members, some of whom were in attendance, and who had been on the Board when given his position. He noted that he was fully aware of the opportunity given to him by selecting a young African American who hadn’t had extensive Superintendent experience, following a predecessor who had long held the position.

For much of an hour Dr. Hutchings presented accomplishments during his tenure at Shaker. His comments were prefaced by the comment that he was “hired by the Board to make changes”, stating his belief he leaves the District in a better place than when he arrived. Below are some specifics of his comments.

Strategic Plan 2014-2019:  13 months remain on the current plan.This 5 year current plan was expanded from the previous 2 year plan. It established specific goals and adopted metrics to align with those goals.  It extensively  details action steps addressing the challenges of the District and is used as a guide for all day to day operations. During it’s development many stakeholders in the community had opportunity for  input. Useful and important periodic strategic planning chats are held within the schools among staff to connect identified priorities to what goes on in the classroom.With the continued goal of transparency, the  2019-2024 strategic plan is in it’s planning stages.(See shaker.org)

Development of Innovative Programs:  1.The establishment of the  Innovative Center for Personalized Learning  (“IC”)  provides non-traditional learning experiences for students and staff;  2. FACE,  the Family and Community Engagement Center,  coordinates opportunities for engagement and volunteerism among parents and serves as a liaison between parents and school. 3. The creation of Shaker’s First Class, is a Pre-K program which can be seen as another way to tackle the achievement gap at the nursery school level. 4. Creation of a multi- grade level Summer Enrichment, Learning and Fun (SELF) program.  Previously the summer programs offered were for failing students or students with challenges to prevent summer loss. The SELF program provides a camp style environment with varied choices for all kinds of students. It’s also  an affordable, convenient way for high school students to attain credit recovery. In three years  program attendance has tripled.

Communications:  Dr. Hutchings noted emphasis resulting in much improvement in this area of focus. He feels it has been important  to find a way to “tell our story.”  He cautioned that  communication to the Superintendent should be respectful, and he encourages community members in their future dealings with the new Superintendent to find “proper channels to communicate”  including the courtesy of communicating an issue first with the Superintendent before going to the public. Improvements in district -wide communications include the creation of  “Measuring What Matters” yearly report sent to every household, the Superintendent’s newsletter, a comprehensive shaker.org website, Board Memos posted on the website and the weekly board packet  posted on the website under BoardDocs. In addition everyone gets a Shaker  app for  i-phones.

Security: There is greater collaboration with SHPD and the SHFD. All entry doors are locked and visitors must be buzzed in by a security person There is enhanced and increased video surveillance. Safety summits are held and safety plans for all schools have been developed. Security officers have received updated training and they are expected to “roll the building.”

High Quality Learning Environment Building on a Legacy of Excellence:

District assessments are now a part of Strategic Metrics. Student achievement has risen and the District is in alignment with Ohio Standards. All schools Pre-K -12 teach the IB curriculum. Former barriers to upper level courses have been removed. Social promotion guidelines have been examined to avoid promotion without proper skills. Dr. Huchings cautioned that this sets up a student for future failure. The district is in compliance with the English Language Learners  and Special Education audits. A Gifted Education Program  complying  with the Ohio Dept. Education requirements is currently being developed.

Organizational Culture:  Dr Hutchings implemented higher standards in hiring practices including the use of a  leadership profile to determine who attains an interview. As an example, potential hires are asked to meet with a panel of interviewers and asked to teach a class as part of the interview process. Vetting protocols have been developed, but  there is a need for continued organizational changes.

Professional Learning: The Department of Professional Learning was established in 2014.

The following practices have been implemented —Executive coaching for Principals,  google training for staff, Instructional coaches, selected among faculty, to assist fellow teaching staff

  1. Dr. Breeden, updated the Board on the development of the Gifted Education program with opportunity for Board members to ask questions. At this point the gifted planning timeline is in Phase I . Dr. Brazer, Stanford professor and educator on leadership and equity has acted as a consultant in the early development of a plan suitable for Shaker students. The District is required by Ohio Department of Education to yearly assess students for identification purposes.  While using instruments in compliance with ODE identification, the remainder of the Shaker plan will be developed according to the aims and needs of the District.  A Workgroup, headed by Mr. Dykema, has been involved in working on drafts of a potential plan. Students will be assessed in the area of core academics, artistic ability and creativity. The Shaker plan states  “an array of identification tools to ensure equitable identification” will be used. Questions and comments  included : what were the implications for students and parents especially through the lens of equity; who, what and when assessments will be administered; differences between the gifted program and enrichment opportunities; possibilities for re-assessment; how advocating for your child will be handled.(See below # 9 for action items to be voted on by the Board.)
  2. Dr. Stephen Wilkins and district architect Dennis Paben reported on the ongoing capital plan and the summer construction projects including the Woodbury, Mercer, Onaway roofing projects, asbestos containment for boilers, work on the Middle School auditorium and outside painting, updating security cameras, phone systems and connecting cameras to monitors. Progress on the pilot classroom projects, looked specifically at lighting components, finishes, acoustics, flexible furniture and room arrangements. Feedback from teachers on the pilot classrooms were sought from teachers.
  3. The Board voted on approving the resolution to abolish/eliminate certain teaching positions. In April possible plans for declining enrollment was discussed by the Board. From 2014 through school 2018, enrollment has declined, losing on average about 100 students per year. Options addressing the issue looked at trend data, class size data and staffing data. The resolution specifies the elimination of 10.8 full time equivalent teachers. The effort has been to keep loss at a minimum by not employing replacements for employees who were retiring, resigning or whose limited contracts will not be renewed. This school year no current employees will be losing jobs.  The Board passed the resolution four votes to one, with Ms.Cremer being the dissenting vote. Prior to the vote there was discussion and clarification from Dr. Breeden. Concerns about class size were voiced by Ms. Cremer due to decreased staff. Assurances were made that class size will be minimally impacted at any grade level.
  4. A number of action items on the public agenda addressing various personnel matters  were approved by unanimous consent. Details can be viewed online through agenda items on BoardDocs.
  5. The Board unanimously accepted the bid for the pilot classroom improvement project from Sterling Professional Group, approved of Total Environmental Services of the High School and Mercer project abatement services and approval of AVI Foodsystems, Inc. to provide food services.
  6. The Board voted unanimously to approve the following action items and resolutions: authorization of the interim superintendent employment contract ( Dr. Stephen M.Wilkins) for the

term July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019; approval of the 3 year negotiated bargaining agreement between the Board of Education and the Ohio Association of Public School Employees  effective through June, 2021; approval of Summer hours-secretarial/clerical Memorandum of Understanding.

  1. The Board voted unanimously to approve the Ohio Dept. of Education (ODE) District Gifted

Identification Plan.

  1. Mr. Christman presented the Treasurer’s monthly report consisting of financial statements and interim investments. The Board voted approval on the following: adoption of the 2018-2019 Temporary Annual Appropriations; the adoption of the Shaker Heights Public Library tax budget;

the resolution authorizing agreements for software and support services with NEOnet Information Technology Center and an end-user agreement for eFinancePlus.

  1. Dr. Hutchings presented his last Superintendent’s report which was brief due to earlier comments. He again thanked a number of people especially his administrative team and the Board for their support. He introduced Mr. David Berger who will serve as Director of

Operations while Stephen Wilkins is interim Superintendent for the upcoming school year.

Commencement was a great success and the effort of SHHS Asst. Principal Sara Chengelis who co-ordinated the event was noted. He commended both William Clawsen, Board member, and Principal Kuehle on their excellent remarks.  At the ceremony Earline Hooper and Mary Lynne McGovern received recognition for pioneering integration of the district. The district raised $17,000 for the annual American Heart Association Campaign.

As the Board seeks a new Superintendent Dr. Hutchings last word of advice was to consider their candidates carefully with the top priority being what is good for all  students in the District.

  1. Ms. Coughlin, executive director of the Shaker Foundation, shared news of the Hutchings Family Fund, initiated by the Hutchings family which will serve as a legacy of Dr. Hutchings’ work and service to the Shaker Heights School District.

 

Anne Batzell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

City Council Regular Meeting, June 2018

July 3rd, 2018  |  Published in Observer Reports

Shaker Heights City Council
June 25, 2018

The Mayor called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. and adjourned at 8:43 p.m.   

Present: Mayor David Weiss, Council members: Sean Malone, Rob Zimmerman, Tres Roeder, Juliana Johnston Senturia, Anne Williams, Nancy Moore, Earl Williams.
Also present:  Chief Administrative Officer Jeri Chaikin; Law Director William M. Ondrey Gruber; Finance Director Robert H. Baker; Director of Public Works Patricia Speese; Director of Planning Joyce Braverman

The minutes of the June 25, 2018 meeting were approved.

Six out of eight items on the agenda were passed declaring an emergency.

Items on the agenda were unanimously approved:

  • Approval of the minute of the May 14th and May 29th meetings. Councilman Zimmerman expressed concern that public comments are not included in meeting minutes, although they are voice recorded.
  • An ordinance was introduced to revise Chapter 163 of Codified Ordinances to comply with the new state law that allows municipalities the ability to “regulate the placement and appearance of small cell technology equipment”, which includes antennae, poles, and equipment boxes. This allows cities to adjust the location of small cell technology equipment to be in areas with heavy traffic, to lessen the load there. The third reading and adoption for this ordinance is expected to be on July 23rd.
  • An ordinance amending sections 141.18 and 141.22 to alter the stipulations of toddler and family pool and ice rink passes. The amendment allows toddlers three years old and younger to gain free admission. This change will cause a loss of about $500 yearly from previous toddler pass revenue, but will appeal to more families.
  • An ordinance authorizing the application for a grant from Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council for $60,445 to go towards the $95,000 replacement of the boiler in the Police/Court Building.
  • An ordinance authorizing a contract with for construction services with Terrace Construction Company, Inc., for $67,000 to remove a portion of the spillway from the Horseshoe Lake Dam to aid the fixing of a sinkhole north of the spillway. With the sinkhole, the dam may be structurally compromised, and if the dam failed, it would cause a loss of life and property. There was originally a bid for the project, except the only bid was over 10% of the estimated cost. The ordinance waives public bidding in this case. $67,000 will be appropriated from the General Fund to finance the contract with Terrace Construction.
  • An ordinance appropriating $67,000 from the General Fund to finance the contract with Terrace Construction to remove part of the spillway from the Horseshoe Lake Dam.
  • An ordinance authorizing the application for a grant from the federal Department of Transportation of up to $1 million to go towards the $1.25 million cost of designing a new intermodal transit station for the RTA Blue Line.
  • An ordinance accepting and authorizing a proposal and a contract with Weber Murphy Fox for $31,280 for Phase 1, and 8% of construction costs for Phase 2, along with $8,000 for moving management, furniture, and fittings for the City Hall Space Study and Plan, which is trying to co-locate the Building and Housing Department by re-organizing department locations and functionality within City Hall, and is expanding to potentially renovate the Firehouse and the vacant Heath Department basement space. Phase 1 is concept design in relation to cost, and Phase 2 is detailed drawings, bidding, and updated cost estimates. The current budget is $200,000. Six proposals and four interviews were received after proposals were requested from eight firms. Weber Murphy Fox was determined to have the best proposal.

-Ryan Brady

 

 

 

 

Library Board, June 2018

July 3rd, 2018  |  Published in Observer Reports

Meeting of the Shaker Heights Library Board of Trustees, June 17, 2018

 

Called to order at 6:45pm.

Present: Board members Gleisser, Bertsch, Cicarella, and Williams.

Absent: Mr. Meinhard, Ms. Katz, and Ms. Garrett

 

Board President Gleisser’s report included information about the 2% extra compensation for library staff, which had been contingent upon passage of the levy on the spring ballot. Motions were made and passed to also apply the additional compensation to the Library Director and Fiscal Officer.

 

The Fiscal Officer reported that income and expenditures were on target, with income modestly ahead of 2017 receipts year to date.

 

The Library’s purchasing and petty cash policies were revised to conform to requirements in state law.

 

Library Director Amy Switzer reported that free printing, up to $1/day, is now available to all cardholders, including children. She noted monthly meetings of library, city, school, and youth center staff take place to encourage collaboration and that “restorative practices” being implemented in the public schools are being adapted, where feasible, for use in the libraries.

 

She also explained that the state of Ohio has made changes in policies for bonds for capital projects and the lengthening of the bond period and other adjustments would be very favorable and timely for the Library renovation project. The fiscal officer is reworking the budget, income, and bond figures and will report them. It is expected that the Library will be able to avoid returning to the ballot a good deal longer because of the changes. The Director also reported on a panel and conversation about panhandling, and other features of the community engagement effort.

 

Gifts were accepted and appropriated. Thanks were expressed to Library staff who participated in the Memorial Day parade.

 

Meeting adjourned at 7:20 pm. There will be no meeting in July.