Observer Reports

City Council, April 22, 2019

May 9th, 2019  |  Published in Observer Reports

The meeting started at 7:30 p.m. and all Council members were present. There were 10 items on the agenda and the following were of special interest:

1. Council approved and authorized execution of the transfer of a portion of school district property to the city and for the subsequent lease or other grant authority back to the school district for the construction, operation, maintenance and use of a public park and playground and declaring an emergency.

2. Council approved and authorized the city to apply for and accept Ohio Department of Natural Resources grant funds in the amount of $100,000 for the Fernway Community Park adjacent to Fernway Elementary School and to enter into any agreements as may be necessary in conjunction with such grant for the Fernway Community Park.

3. There was a first reading of proposed amendments to the city’s zoning code. City officials will continue to study the proposed amendments, which would further regulate child daycare homes.

Stevie Robinson, League observer

Library Board of Trustees, April 15, 2019

May 7th, 2019  |  Published in Observer Reports

The meeting was called to order at 6:38 p.m. Present: Board members Bertsch, Cicarella, Gleisser, Katz, Meinhard, and Rashid. First order of business was to administer the oath of office to new trustee Dr. Timeka Rashid, who is selected to serve a seven-year term.

A presentation entitled “Minding the Gap” addressed the library’s efforts to prevent and heal the achievement gap. Even by the beginning of kindergarten it is found that children of color and children in economically disadvantaged families are strikingly less school-ready. The library has several approaches to encourage early literacy including nine story times/week, play and learn stations and outreach librarians who visit every licensed daycare and nursery school facility each month with a special book collection. The library also collaborates closely with schools and teachers to support literacy, provides access to digital resources, and has programs to prevent “summer slide” diminishment of academic skills. An event will begin the summer reading program on June 6.

The main action of the board was selection of an architect for the library renovation project. The RFQ received nine responses; three firms were selected for the short list and were interviewed by several board members and library Director Amy Switzer. The board voted to initiate contract negotiations with Bialosky Cleveland. If acceptable terms are reached, the board will hold a special meeting to approve the appointment and contract.

Ms. Switzer highlighted a new collaboration with the Cleveland Food Bank, offering social services assistance one Tuesday each month. Also noted was the Friends of the Library book sale, April 24-26. She also made a presentation and invited participation in a vision session exercise of Forward Together, the facilities planning initiative of city, schools, and library.

Other business included financial reports (income up slightly, expenditures slightly lower than budget), personnel action report, and acceptance and appropriation of gifts. The meeting adjourned at 8:30 pm. Next regular meeting: May 20.

Kathleen Hickman, League observer

Finance Committee, April 15, 2019

May 7th, 2019  |  Published in Observer Reports

Members Present: Council members Sean Malone (chair), Nancy Moore; citizen members Thomas Cicarella, Linda Lalley, Martin Kolb, Anthony Moore

Others present: Mayor David Weiss, Chief Administrative Officer Jeri Chaikin, Fire Chief Patrick Sweeney, Director of Finance Robert Baker, Assistant Finance Director Cheryl Arslanian, Senior Human Resources Analyst Monica Hayes, Senior Planner Dan Feinstein, Housing Commissioner William Hanson

The meeting was called to order by Mr. Malone at 7:32 a.m.

Agenda—Committee actions:

  1. The minutes of the March 18, 2019, meeting were approved.
  2. Ms. Hayes presented a request that the Finance and Administration Committee authorize the appropriation of $2,425 into the HR department Wellness account to be used for various Wellness activities and the appropriation of $121.89 into the Training account to be used towards upcoming Lunch & Learn events. Medical Mutual of Ohio has sent two reimbursement checks, one for $2,425 and the other for $121.89 to assist the city with wellness initiatives. The request was approved without further comment.
  3. Mr. Feinstein presented a request to authorize a grant application to, and to accept a grant from, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) NatureWorks program for Fernway playground improvements. The Planning Department will submit a grant application for $100,000. The required 25 percent local match will be provided by the Shaker Heights School District.

Mr. Malone and Mr. Kolb asked Mr. Feinstein to clarify where this playground would be located on the Fernway property. Mr. Feinstein referenced the location on the map supplied with the agenda. Mr. Kolb noted this was a great example of the city and school board working together. Mayor Weiss commended the planning department for finding the grant to fund the effort. Mr. Kolb added that the city rather than the school board had to apply for the grant. Mr. Malone wished to learn what was in this area today. Mr. Feinstein replied the parking lot and some greenspace occupied the area. The request was approved.

  • Senior Planner Dan Feinstein presented a request to authorize purchase of land for $1.00 from the Shaker Heights School District to facilitate a grant application supporting creation of the Fernway Community Park. A portion of the Fernway School property, Permanent Parcel No. 736-09-106, will be transferred to the City of Shaker Heights. The City must own the land in order to receive the grant. If a grant is awarded, the City will lease the property back to the School District to operate, maintain and repair the park grounds and facilities. If a grant is not awarded, the City will transfer the property back to the School District.

Tom Cicarella asked how liability insurance would be handled during the transition. Mr. Feinstein replied that had not yet been agreed. Anthony Moore requested to move the insurance higher in the negotiation priority. Mayor Weiss responded they will address this right away. Sean Malone asked if the Finance Committee would see the final agreement before it went to City Council. Mr. Weiss replied a draft would be circulated to the committee prior to presentation to Council. Mr. Cicarella requested there be a reversion clause in the contract. Mr. Moore asked if this NatureWorks grant had been won by the City previously. Mr. Feinstein replied that it had been awarded in 2013 for the Lake-to-Lakes Trail. The request was approved.

  • Senior Planner Dan Feinstein presented a recommendation to enter into a professional services contract for construction inspection and administration of the Warrensville Center Road Streetscape Improvements project. Primary streetscape construction activities include concrete sidewalks, curbs, asphalt pavement, ADA ramp installation, pedestrian lighting, landscaping and signage along the east side of Warrensville between Scottsdale and Farnsleigh, and along the north side of Farnsleigh between Warrensville and Thornton Park. The estimated/budgeted cost of professional services is $234,000. Construction is expected to begin in June.

Sean Malone clarified the request was to authorize Greenman Perderson Inc. (GPI) for professional services only, not actual construction. Geri Chaikin clarified approval had to be made before the next Council meeting, she assumed it would be the highest ranked bidder, GPI. Mr. Malone also clarified the professional services alone were $234,000 while the actual construction would be by Perk Company and cost $1,746,035.37. Nancy Moore interjected the map did not illustrate the visual enhancement this would provide along the Warrensville corridor; the whole urban vista would be changed to be almost pastoral. Linda Lalley asked if these illustrations were the ones shown on the sign boards at Christ Church. Mr. Feinstein replied that these signs were some of them. Mr. Malone wished to know how much time this would take. Mr. Feinstein replied work would start in June and likely require all the summer season. Mr. Malone asked if the cost was in the budget. Mr. Feinstein answered that it was. The recommendation was approved. Nancy Moore appended that Dan Feinstein was representing the Planning Department because Director of Planning Joyce Braverman and Principal Planner Ann Klavora were in California accepting the National Planning Achievement Gold Award for Implementation from the American Planning Association for the department’s Van Aken District efforts.

  • Fire Chief Patrick Sweeney presented a recommendation to donate a 2004 Horton Rescue Squad vehicle to University Hospitals Training and Disaster Preparedness Institute for the purpose of supporting their community outreach initiatives. University Hospitals has provided, free of charge for over 25 years, Medical Control direction and instruction which equates to more than $6,000 in annual instructor costs. Additionally, we have benefitted from their generous contributions of a wide variety of innovative medical equipment and supplies which ultimately enhances all aspects of our emergency service delivery system. Approval of this request would allow the city to transfer title of this vehicle to University Hospitals.

Anthony Moore asked if this was a simple title transfer. Chief Sweeney replied it would require a legal transfer to relieve the liability. Mr. Moore asked if it would have any tax benefit. Mayor Weiss replied that government bodies did not receive tax benefits. Tom Cicarella requested that Shaker Heights name be removed from the vehicle. Mr. Sweeney replied that UH would relabel the vehicle. The recommendation was approved.

  • Fire Chief Patrick Sweeney presented a recommendation to donate a 1991 Ladder Truck to the Western Reserve Fire Museum and Education Center for the purpose of promoting fire safety education to the broader community in Northeast Ohio. This truck has been on loan with the museum over the last 12 months. The City has pursued the potential sale of this vehicle during this same period of time; unfortunately, the department has received no interest for the purchase of this truck. This is most probably due to its age and the wear and tear it has sustained over its many years of service in Northeast Ohio. Approval of this request would allow the city to transfer title of this truck to the Museum, which would completely remove the city from any liabilities associated with this truck.

Linda Lalley inquired what would be done with the vehicle if it were not donated. Chief Sweeney replied the vehicle would probably be sold for scrap, which is a last resort. Sean Malone asked to get a legal opinion on retaining the Shaker Heights name on the vehicle. Mr. Sweeney replied it was common for museums to leave the municipality names on vehicles. Anthony Moore requested a legal liability indemnification clause be written into the donation contract. The recommendation was approved.

  • Director of Finance Robert Baker presented a request to recommend the adoption of the ordinance authorizing the issuance and sale of the Street Improvement Notes, Series 2019 in the principal amount of $1,600,000. The Notes are rolled over each year, and at maturity of the notes each year, 10% of the original principal amount will be retired so that entire issue will be retired in ten years.

Linda Lalley wished to learn what was budgeted for streets. Mr. Baker replied that the budget was $2M each year. Sean Malone asked if the extra tax on gas will help pay off this year. Mr. Baker replied it would not. Tom Cicarella asked if there was a market for two year versus one year notes for these expenditures, curious if we could save money. Mr. Baker replied he had not studied the market but as one extends the duration of loans the interest rate goes up; additionally, longer durations required underwriters to handle bidding, which also increased the cost. Jeri Chaikin inquired if our bond rating agencies helped find the lowest rate for our bonds and notes. Mr. Baker replied that they do, as a part of Ohio Municipal Advisory Council. Nancy Moore commented that this reminded us of the importance of a maintaining a healthy cash reserve to support our high credit rating, which reduced our cost to borrow. Mr. Malone commented that a review of the cash reserve would be part of the Finance Committee meeting next month. The request was approved.

  • Mr. Baker presented a request to amend the 2019 budget for the Debt Service Fund, the General Fund, and the Housing Nuisance Abatement Fund. Certain items may require changes or corrections in order to provide adequate appropriations for all expected fund expenditures as the city implements its yearly budget.

Ms. Lalley asked if the money for demolitions is in the Housing Nuisance Abatement Fund. Mr. Baker replied that it was and Mr. Hanson added that the city had applied to the county for $400,000 for abatement, but that the money had not yet been appropriated by the county. Ms. Moore volunteered that the Northeast Ohio First Suburbs Consortium had, beginning after the 2008 recession, supported nuisance abatement as a use of their bond funding; but recently, as the housing market has recovered, the consortium changed its emphasis to rehabilitation rather than demolition. Mr. Hanson said he expected this current round of county appropriations to be the last to support demolitions; future appropriations would probably only support rehabilitation. Mr. Malone asked how the city would support demolitions in the future. Mr. Hanson answered that he anticipated fewer demolitions in the future, but the $400,000 would be the last help from the county. Mr. Cicarella has served on the Habitat for Humanity Board and commented that Habitat has tracked the cost of rehab versus new construction and found rehab to be more cost-effective: he asked if the city wished to work with Habitat for Humanity, assuming a building can be made habitable. Ms. Moore agreed and offered that there are other government agencies that grant money for rehabilitation. Ms. Chaikin added that there are preapproved renovators who can rehab foreclosed housing stock, but that they are rarely interested in two-family properties. Mr. Hanson said the housing department had talked to Habitat for Humanity and learned from them that if private property owners cannot be located, then Habitat cannot participate. Mr. Moore asked what happened if the money is not used. Mr. Hanson replied it was returned to the county. Mr. Moore said the city needs to determine a source for future demolition funding. Mr. Kolb asked if the city would have to transfer money from other city funds for demolition. Ms. Moore replied that there is no other money for demolition. Mayor Weiss summarized that the change in the county philosophy from demolition to rehabilitation was to serve the needs and desires of the larger county; and that the policy is driven by the tax revenue generated by rehabilitation versus the tax loss of a demolition. The request was approved.

  • Director of Finance Robert Baker presented a request to recommend to Council that the Then and Now Certificate presented for 11 Medical Mutual of Ohio late invoices and their related payment, covering $892,144.33 insurance costs for the first quarter of 2019, be approved. The request was approved.

Mr. Malone adjourned the meeting at 8:43 am.

Frank Goforth, League observer

Planning Commission & Board of Zoning Appeals, April 2, 2019

May 7th, 2019  |  Published in Observer Reports

Members Present: David Weiss, mayor and chair; John Boyle and Joanna Ganning, citizen members

Others Present: Dan Feinstein, senior planner; William Gruber, director of law

The agenda for this meeting may be found here:

(http://shakeronline.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_04022019-236?html=true)

Mayor Weiss called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.

The minutes of the March 5, 2019, meeting were approved without comment and are available here:

(http://shakeronline.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Minutes/_03052019-213)

City Planning Commission

FERNWAY SCHOOL – 17420 Fernway Road:

Public hearing on the request of Chris Dewey, Van Auken Akins Architects, on behalf of the Shaker Heights City School District for subdivision of land in order to create, out of the current Fernway School parcel, a new parcel on the southern portion of the site. The new parcel extends between Dorchester and Ardmore roads, is 120 feet wide, totals 31,200 square feet, and is to encompass the proposed new playground and field. This meeting is just for the subdivision of land; another meeting will be held to approve the site plan for the playground and community park/playing field. Part of the city’s grant application to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources requires purchasing the parcel from the school district. The city will then complete a long-term lease-back agreement with the school district for the operation and maintenance of the playground and park/field. If the grant is denied, the parcel will revert to Fernway School. The mayor commented that, while a terrible occurrence, the fire at Fernway School has provided an opportunity for the city to access funds otherwise unavailable to the school district in order to rebuild the school, making improvements, and also create a park/field that will benefit the entire community. Staff supports the subdivision of land.

During the public hearing one neighbor, whose lot abuts the proposed playground/park, relayed his concern about the level of activity at the site. The mayor noted the comment for the record and said the opportunity to discuss the noise/activity will be available during a future meeting to approve the plans for the playground and park.

The panel unanimously approved the new subdivision of land.

Supporting documents are available here:

(https://www.shakeronline.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/708?fileID=2696)

CITY OF SHAKER HEIGHTS – ZONING TEXT AMENDMENT:

Public hearing on the request of the City of Shaker Heights for amendments to the zoning ordinance text for the regulations for Child Day Care Homes, Types A and B. The current code language is dated and needed revision. The changes to Accessory Use sections require registration and inspection of all child daycare homes, and the new language matches current city department names and other changes. The changes to Conditional Use section include adding State of Ohio definitions: Type A allows seven to 12 children at one time and must have a state license; Type B allows one to six children at one time but no license is required. Both types must comply with the requirements listed in city ordinances.

Staff supports the zoning text amendment.

During the public hearing, four citizens asked the panel to consider the neighbors, in different ways. All were concerned with noise and decline of property values on streets with child day care homes. One neighbor said that a number of surrounding suburbs and Cleveland itself do not allow Type A daycare homes, and then asked if Shaker residents had a choice. Mrs. Braverman noted that the state determined that daycare is an important issue and preempted local zoning for Type B. She also stated that three hearings had occurred concerning Type A homes and, while the vote was not unanimous, City Council voted to keep them as long as they were appropriately regulated. Mr. Boyle stated that every Type A must have a conditional use permit provided by this panel, and further requirements may be instituted in the process of each approval.

It was also noted that updating the zoning texts and presenting the revisions to the board and public was the first step in the process. The new language makes it possible to know the locations and regulate Type B daycare homes, as it requires registration with the city. Citizens will have another opportunity to voice their opinions on issues other than code language at the three readings scheduled (April 22, May 28, and June 10 or 24), and further meetings, should they be necessary, as well as to speak to individual council members.

The panel unanimously approved the zoning text amendments.

Supporting documents are available here:

(https://www.shakeronline.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/716?fileID=2697)

In an update about the Van Aken District, Mrs. Braverman noted some additions/changes to new establishments as the Architectural Board of Review required: the glass for Michael’s restaurant, which will all be the same, and finalization of the Jonathan Sawyer entrance and patio.

The mayor adjourned the meeting at 7:50 p.m.

The next meeting is May 7, 2019, 7 p.m.

Barbara Bradley, League observer

Sustainability Committee, April 11, 2019

May 7th, 2019  |  Published in Observer Reports

Members present: Council members Julianna Johnston Senturia (chair), Sean Malone and Anne Williams; citizen members Carmen Franks, Julianne Potter and Norman Robbins

Others present: Mayor David Weiss, Chief Administrative Officer Jeri Chaikin, Sustainability Coordinator Michael Peters

The agenda for the meeting may be found here: (http://shakeronline.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Minutes/_03142019-224)

Ms. Senturia called the meeting to order at 7:31 a.m.

Ms. Senturia noted that this meeting is the first of the newly constituted committee and welcomed the new citizen members, Carmen Franks (water resources engineer, Biohabitats), Julianne Potter (sustainability consultant, ERM BrownFlynn) and Norman Robbins (CWRU professor emeritus), all of whom bring different but necessary expertise to the committee. Each member gave his or her name and Shaker neighborhood and stated the issue that piqued interest in sustainability. Among the issues were recycling and using free resources. After the introductions, Ms. Senturia stated that the agenda and meeting documents are available online, and that, since this the Sustainability Committee, a printed agenda would be available only at this meeting. Everyone agreed the practice of putting documents online was a good one.

Ms. Senturia told the citizen members that each had a vote equal to that of the council members on the committee, which is a continuation of the climate change group and then task force that came together in 2015 after summer flooding in Shaker Heights. In light of how the city responded to citizen efforts around sustainability—creating a Sustainability Committee—members were encouraged to bring issues to her attention or that of Mr. Peters, sustainability coordinator. Some committee business with a sustainability element will come through the natural process of city government, and other items will come from events and citizen concerns.

The minutes of the March 14, 2019, meeting were then unanimously approved as presented.

The next order of business was an overview of the LEED for Cities Grant for certification through the U.S. Green Building Council. Shaker Heights is one on the 14 cities to receive such a grant, good news for a brand new committee. The cohort will be announced on April 15. Not cash awards, these grants provide for membership, certification, orientation, conferences, and technical resources in light of the new LEED for Cities rating system that took effect in April. Mr. Peters will write letters of thanks to the different stakeholders for their support. Two representatives will go to a two-day orientation workshop in Washington in May to learn the expectations and then report back at the next meeting. Much of the work will be data collection, and within the 100 possible points, the goal will be to achieve at least 40 points, the benchmark of to become certified. Cities receive points for existing programs and physical characteristics as well as new ones. Once the assessment has been made, the committee will determine the priorities for getting other points, for example, public transportation. Collaboration with the county, on bike and scooter share, for example, will also garner points. A subcommittee as well as committee members could do some of the outreach work, getting students and residents involved. Mr. Peters will approach the four high schools and the three residents who applied but are not citizen members to determine interest. On energy use for the city, a baseline needed first for comparison later. Mr. Peters will gather the data necessary for that and report back to the committee each month on progress. The mayor suggested he get together with Ms. Chaikin and Mr. Peters to systematize data collection so as not to duplicate efforts internally. Using a framework like LEED for Cities could be an appropriate tool for prioritizing, tracking and communicating the committee’s goals.

The next topic was a review of sustainability task force priorities. Sustainability is a huge issue, with many different areas, and the committee needs to think about its direction, not necessarily its specific goals. LEED for Cities is a natural framework. The city-wide event about a year ago came up with some priorities, some of which are being addressed: increase total tons recycled and reduce tons of resident-generated waste; increase kWh of green energy, especially solar, by city and residents; increase the number of residents receiving NEORSD credits and reduce pesticides on city-owned land; increase the number of energy-efficient upgrades in private residences, apartment buildings, and businesses. These goals were for residents, and now that there are resources—the committee and sustainability coordinator—city involvement is a priority. How will the committee decide how and then create steps to reach those goals is a topic for discussion next month. Ms. Potter asked if other frameworks exist that should be considered. Mr. Peters noted that LEED is not the Bible. The committee’s work should be outreach to residents to let them know what opportunities exist rather than recreate the wheel. Committee members should look at Lakewood’s website to see what they have accomplished recently. Their sustainability task force plans to update the city’s master plan through the lens of sustainability.

Subcommittees, working groups, and ad hoc groups were discussed next. Flexibility is important, and depending on the topic, groups may form and then dissolve when a goal is met. Pathways for residents to become involved are vital, as is being a resource for information that can reduce the stress associated with change. For example, the county can help create solar buying co-ops so residents do not have to start from nothing; the issue is getting the word out. Among the other areas for subcommittee work are recycling, energy, and storm-water management. Mr. Peters will poll committee members to see who is passionate about what to help decide which issues to address first. Ms. Senturia suggested not overwhelming the committee and residents with options and that selecting two is probably appropriate. Start small and add as interest occurs. Goals should be measurable and trackable.

Ms. Senturia suggested creating a narrative to let residents know what has been accomplished so far as well as to present goals for the future. Mr. Robbins suggested the committee support the effort to have solar panels installed on the school roofs that are being repaired this summer. Also since NOPEC’s 100 percent recyclable fixed rate for cities is now available, the committee should weigh in on the publicity for this rate and suggested that the default, which 99 percent of people select, be opting in to the program.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:39 a.m.

Barbara Bradley, League observer

Safety & Public Works Committee, April 5, 2019

May 7th, 2019  |  Published in Observer Reports

Members Present: Nancy Moore, council member and chair; Julianna Johnston Senturia, council member; Jonathan Hren and James Sammon, citizen members; David Weiss, mayor; Jeffrey DeMuth, chief of police; Patricia Speese, director of public works; Patrick Sweeney, chief of fire; Jeri Chaikin, chief administrative officer

Others present: Joyce Braverman, director of planning, and Anna Klavora, principal planner

The agenda and supporting documents for this meeting may be found here:

(http://shakeronline.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_04052019-239?packet=true)

The meeting was recorded and the audio is available here: (http://shakeronline.com/DocumentCenter/View/1920/SPW-Audio-4-5-19)

The meeting was called to order at 8 a.m. by Ms. Moore.

Since there was not a quorum, Ms. Moore explained that the draft minutes will be posted and three sets of minutes will be approved at the next meeting. For each agenda item, a sense of the committee will be on record.

Agenda—Committee actions:

Before taking on agenda items, Ms. Moore announced that the city’s planning department was recognized by the American Planning Association as one of the top 20 planning departments in the nation. The award, for implementation of what is now called the Van Aken District, was the only one given in the implementation category. Ms. Moore noted that many projects are conceived and implemented, but this long-term redevelopment project, which involved years of planning as well as input from the community, warranted this special recognition.

Ms. Klavora presented two contracts for Warrensville Center Road streetscape improvements: administration/construction inspection (est. $234,000) and construction owner’s representative (est. $25,000). The construction, including sidewalks, curbs, landscaping, and the like, is expected to begin in June. The administration/construction inspection consultant is required by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) when federal funding is used. In order to both meet the required ODOT process and begin construction this spring, a final recommendation and contract amount will not be available until presented to the finance committee later in April. It will be funded with Shaker Heights capital funds for Van Aken District construction and federal grant funds, if available. A selection committee will review the letters of interest submitted for each contract, interview and rank candidates, and present proposals to the city, which will award the contracts. Budgets for both contracts are available; use the link above. Those present supported the projects.

Chief Sweeney presented two donations: 2004 Horton Rescue Squad to University Hospitals as a thank-you to UH for more than 25 years of Medical Control direction and instruction; 1991 Ladder Truck to the Western Reserve Fire Museum and Education Center. The department has tried to sell both vehicles but been unsuccessful. Both are owned by the fire department and have been decommissioned and replaced. The chief will check with the law department about possible liability. Perhaps “Donated by” could be added to the “Shaker Heights” identification on the vehicles. Those present supported the projects, which will save money in overhead expenses, and especially noted their “feel good” aspect.There was then some discussion of current matters. Mayor Weiss spoke of the approval, after a year-long negotiation, of the Teamsters 570 contract, which includes a 2 percent increase for 2018 and 2.25 percent increase for 2019 and 2020. Next are contracts with firefighters and police. Chief DeMuth said that while the department has been busy, it has been successful with most of its investigations. He also talked about the tragic accident at Warrensville and South Woodland, which had nothing to do with the signals and everything to do with erratic driving. The snow had just begun, so signals were not covered, but the snow did keep the police from gathering some evidence. He also reminded everyone that warm weather means officers on foot and bikes patrolling the neighborhoods, and that residents should still keep their doors and windows locked. Chief Sweeney said that owners of the home that burned on Lytle Road will rebuild, right on the current foundation if possible. The floors of the house were being sanded and stained; the fire was caused by rags saturated with stain left in black plastic bags in the kitchen, a tragic example of spontaneous combustion. Ms. Speese noted that the warmer weather means many, many construction projects: Cleveland Water, Dominion East Ohio Gas, sidewalk and curb programs, sewer projects, etc. The department will keep the construction page on the website as up-to-date as possible. Ms. Moore asked her to discuss the grass bag situation. Only organic material is allowed in the yard waste bags; they will be opened and tagged for removal by specific trucks, depending on the contents. One other problem that has cropped up and needs attention is residents using tree lawns for unwanted items. Ms. Speese applauded their efforts to reuse/recycle but noted that it is unsightly and against the law; the department is spending lots of time contacting residents and explaining the ordinance and that residents can be ticketed. They can contact the department about bringing large items to the recycling center and get approval for drop-offs more than once a quarter. The once-per-quarter restriction came about because nonresidents were bringing trucks loaded with refuse weekly. The center is not licensed for construction materials or landfill materials. Ms. Senturia commented that sometimes our values run up on one another, and one person’s trash is another’s treasure. There has to be a happy medium. Ms. Speese uses Facebook to get rid of unwanted items and Ms. Moore mentioned freecycle.com. Mr. Sammon suggested contacting the coaches of SHHS athletic teams, who are always looking for funds, to help with removals. But the city should not take a position on the matter other than suggesting options.

Ms. Moore adjourned the meeting at 8:58 a.m.

The next meeting is May 3, 2019, at 8 a.m.

Barbara Bradley, League observer

Neighborhood Revitalization Committee, April 17, 2019

May 7th, 2019  |  Published in Observer Reports

This meeting focused on presenting the Storefront Renovation REBATE Program (SRRPP).  The goals of this program are as follows:

1.  Improve the appearance of the commercial districts.

2.  Support property and business owners’ efforts to improve building exteriors.

3.  Contribute to the economic growth and prosperity of Shaker Heights.

Background:  Between 2016 and 2018, Cuyahoga County subsidized, with assistance from Citizens Bank and private contributions, the Lee Road Storefront Renovation.  During the 2016 -2017 year there were 8 projects that received $192.000 for signage and facade refresh projects.  Examples include, Shaker Cigar (façade refresh), Discount Cleaners (new signage) and Shaker Heights Animal Hospital (façade refresh). 

The City intends to build on this initiative with the intention to only use funds from the City’s general fund.  This eliminates requirements that existed with the County’s program.  Namely, there will be no deadline to spend the money as there was with the County program which required projects to be completed within the two year window of 2016 – 2018.

Program:  The program has two options for participation:

1.  Signage Only (Business Owners Only):  Independently owned, non-franchise businesses may apply for a signage only matching signage only rebate of up to $3,000.  Signage only includes items that bear company marks such as signage, awnings, and window/door graphics.  The intent of the signage-only program is three-fold:  1. Incentivize new businesses to open here; 2.  Attract, retain and support locally-owned businesses; and 3. Encourage better quality signage in our commercial districts.

2.  Full Façade (Building or Business Owners may apply):   to improve an existing building’s exterior curb appeal in a comprehensive, transformative manner including new/restored front doors and windows, tuck pointing, painting, signage (independent businesses only), awnings, outdoor cafes (visible from the street) and front façade landscaping.  Parking lot resurfacing and roof repairs/replacement are not eligible.  The entire façade must be assessed and included in the design scheme to produce a transformational project.  The sides of buildings may be included  on a case by case basis.  The maximum 50% matching full façade rebate is $15,000.  *If the project exceeds this limit then the business should seek additional financing.

ELIGIBILTIY:

1.  The commercial zoned property is located in one of the following areas:  Lee Rd. (Van Aken to Scottsdale), Shaker Commons/South Side of Chagrin (Avalon to Hildana), Larchmere Blvd., District South (Juma to Lucy’s), Bloc at Almar (Pistone’s to Fussy) and Fairmount Circle (Shaker addresses only).

2.  Apartment buildings without first floor commercial space(s) and home based businesses are not eligible.

3.  Property owner must confirm full support of the project if the business (tenant) is the applicant.

4.  Property taxes must be current in that the prior tax year is paid in full.

5.  The applicant must be able to pay for 100% of the project cost up front, as these programs are structured as a rebate once the project in complete.

REQUIREMENTS:

1.  Payroll taxes for the business must be reported to RITA. 

2.  If the business tenant is a start-up, a business plan and projected financials must be submitted to Economic Development.

3.  If business signage is included in a a full facade project, the cost of the sign can only be included if the business is not a franchise or national chain. 

4.  If there are exterior Building Code violations at the time of application, a written plan with timeline to complete the work must be established to remedy the violations if the project scope is not addressing the violations.  The rebate will not be issued until the violations are corrected.  *This is important to note, the rebate program can be used to correct Building Code violations.

PROJECT SCOPE-PERTINENT POINTS:

1.  The final project scope and design will be reviewed and approved with the support of a Design Specialist assigned and paid for by the City before contractor bids can be solicited.

2.  All contractors MUST be licensed to work in the City and secure all necessary building permits.  If any work is completed without the proper permits, the project will no longer be eligible for a rebate.

Eileen Anderson, League observer

Board of Education, April 9, 2019

April 27th, 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 the past seven meetings held in March.

  1. Dr. Wilkins recognized the following: Shaker again won the Best Communities for Music Award given by NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants), being honored for its commitment to music education. The SHTA has won a 2019 “Friend of Education” award for its support of school public relations. Students from the high school traveled over spring break to Laos (community service project), France, and Italy (band trip). The Verb Ballet performed for Lomond School, thanks to support by the Lomond PTO. The high school has a new eSports team participating in a competitive league with 44 schools across Ohio. A middle school robotics team was the 2019 state champ and will compete in the world competition in Louisville, Ky., and some 125 Woodbury and middle school students represented 18 countries at a Model UN Conference in Columbus. High school art students won top honors at the Ohio Governor’s Youth Art Exhibition, and for the first time four students were recognized at the national Scholastic Art and Writing Competition. The Shakerite, the online and print high school newspaper, won an award from Columbia Scholastic Press; and Shaker high school and middle school students did well at National History Day—23 projects representing 47 students will move on to compete at the state level.
  2. Dr. Erin Herbuck, director of professional learning, updated the board on the high school principal search. Seventy-five candidates filled out applications; the search firm identified 15 candidates for review. Six semifinalists will come to the district for a day and will appear before a panel of stakeholders (staff, teachers, parents, and students), and two or three will be invited for a full day in the beginning of May. The goal is to aim for final approval at the May 14 board meeting.
  3. SHHS assistant principal Sarah Chengelis and other members of the Italy Tour Leadership team gave a brief presentation on the recent high school band trip to Italy, which included 245 student performers, 10 directors, nine administrators, seven staff and spouses, 20 parent chaperones, and two doctors, plus 147 others in the shadow trip. The band directors thanked the board for its support of the entire music program.
  4. All personnel updates and changes were approved. Dr. Wilkins gave a shout-out to longtime employees who are retiring this year: first grade Mercer teacher Mary Beth Eakin, with 34 years of service, and HS custodian Charles Orange, with 37 years of service. A group of 18 teachers recommended for continuing contract status will be honored at the May board meeting.
  5. The following business items were approved: an addendum to the construction management agreement with Gilbane Building Co. in conjunction with the district-wide facility improvements; a resolution authorizing participation in the Ohio Schools Council Cooperative School Bus Purchasing Program for the 2019-20 school year for purchase of up to three new school buses; and a routine approval for an MOU for the Heights Career Tech Prep Consortium for the next five years.
  6. The board had the second of three readings on revisions of board policies in five areas.
  7. The board approved a routine request for the district to be voluntary members of the Ohio High School Athletic Association with regards to interscholastic athletic programs.
  8. The Treasurer’s report: Real estate tax collection is down, tied to changes in federal tax law and the fact many people paid ahead in December 2018. It should be more level next year. The district is expected to receive approximately the same State Foundation funding in FY2019 as it did in FY2018 due to being on the “guarantee” funding method. Our investment earnings are on track to be $200,000 above budget by the end of the fiscal year. This year’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) has been submitted for award consideration from two groups: the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) and the Government Financial Officers Association (GFOA). Each of our last 20 CFARs has won both awards.
  9. eFinanceplus conversion work is still taking place, with work sessions to prepare for the first parallel pay for the first half of April. The district has implemented in March the web-based Arbiter system, an online system for submission, approval, and payment of all District athletic-event officials as well as assignment of officials. This new system replaces a paper-based system and greatly increases efficiency.
  10. Mr. Christman also reported on the following legislative items:      House Bill 75 (HB 75), which requires local governments that contest property taxes to formally pass an authorizing resolution for each contest and notify property owners; and HB 76, which affects language on ballots for levies, which district officials think could overstate the cost of levies to voters.
  11. Dr. Wilkins reported that he would be attending the superintendents meeting in Columbus on April 10. On April 23, there will be a board workshop on the high school principal search from 5 to 7 p.m.
  12.  Mr. Isaacs announced that the three taxing body forum sponsored by the LWV will take place on Tuesday, April 30, at 6:30 p.m. at the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Building, 3450 Lee Road.

The Board adjourned the public session at 8:35 pm.

Holly Wang

Joint Facilities Task Force, March 26, 2019

April 27th, 2019  |  Published in Observer Reports

Welcome: David Weiss, Mayor, City of Shaker Heights; Jeffrey Isaacs, President, Board of Education; Brian Gleisser, President, Library Board of Trustees

Introductions: Felton Thomas Jr., Executive Director, Cleveland Public Library

Guest Speakers: Michele Pomerantz, Director of Regional Collaboration, Cuyahoga County; Evan Struble, Associate State Librarian for Library Development, State Library of Ohio; Terry Schwarz, Director, Kent Staste University Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative

Moderated Q&A: Mr. Thomas

The website for the Forward Together initiative may be found at Forward Together. A video and slide presentation of the meeting are available via the Forward Together resources website.

Mayor Weiss opened the meeting by explaining the “Forward Together” initiative as a collaboration of the schools, library, and city to develop a “forward-looking strategy for our current and future community facilities and assets.” He cited several goals for the project: to “create a long-range vision for our community facilities, to be good stewards of our limited resources, to leverage our partnership and common goals between the three taxing authorities, and to build on our legacy of creative thinking about the best practices how to effectively and efficiently use our civic assets.” He characterized the Thought Leader discussion as the first step of many interactions between the planning group and the public. He asked the public to think beyond how our current assets are used and suggest ways they might be better utilized for the good of Shaker Heights, to listen, learn and dream.

Mr. Isaacs informed the audience there would be more community input sessions, the next sessions being April 11, hosted at the Main Library at 9:30 a.m., and another the same day at the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Building at 7 p.m.

Mr. Gleisser challenged everyone to “dream big” and not only think about what might be done now, but what they felt might be needed 20 or more years into the future. He reminded everyone that he and Mayor Weiss were on City Council together 20 years ago when the discussion first began on what has come to be called the Van Aken District.

Each of the three panel members then made their presentations to the public audience, using the slide presentation and viewable on the video

Ms. Pomerantz said that public education in the United States has not really evolved in 200 years; the technology has, but the process has not. Teachers still lecture students, segregated by age and abilities, in separate rooms and/or separate buildings. She cited a forward-looking example at the Purpose Built Communities, particularly one located in Atlanta, noting another in Columbus, Ohio. She specifically did not advocate that Shaker adapt these models, but build our own model instead, using some of the practices of these groups, particularly the creative use of all public spaces for multiple functions.

Mr. Struble challenged the audience to “be aspirational” in their thinking. He further elaborated: think modular and variable in the use of shared space, consider every facility as a community meeting space for many purposes, accessible 24/7 and including outdoor as well as indoor spaces, and to think out of the box regarding the community services that may become common in the future.

Ms. Schwarz challenged the audience to agree on a set of values to be pursued, and referred to future city environments in general rather than the use of shared facilities. She spoke of three areas: smart cities, climate change and “degrowth.” She began by taking an inventory of what one has; its condition, its location and its remaining value. She then referred to autonomous devices and how these might be used to extend the value of assets by reducing congestion, better serving low income residents, creating jobs, etc. Ms. Schwarz recommended people read the Fund for Our Economic Future’s “The Two Tomorrows” report. She next reviewed some data about climate change specific to Ohio and how community facilities such as libraries, schools and recreation centers serve multiple functions for multiple constituents during extreme climate events. Finally, we should embrace the phrase, “The only sustainable growth is degrowth.” By this she meant growing less and best using what we have. She closed with a quote by Buckminster Fuller: “Our beds are empty two-thirds of the time. Our living rooms are empty seven-eighths of the time. Our office buildings are empty one-half of the time. It’s time we gave this some thought.” She singled out libraries for praise and emulation, as they serve multiple community functions.

Mr. Thomas then presented several questions from the public that had been collected during the presentation:

  • What do you see as opportunities for intersection?
    • Pomerantz: Shared facilities, from infant to senior services of all types in all facilities.
    • Struble: Break the territorial boundaries and be intentional about partnerships.
  • What is the most unique or creative idea you have seen recently?
    • Schwarz: Facilities that are multitasked and functions that change during a day.
    • Pomerantz: Areas are not considered “mine”—a sharing mentality. Buildings that are accessible all day.
    • Struble: A trend toward the “human” library, where knowledge is shared between humans directly rather than passively by books. Sharing of experiences and cultures.
  • What is the impact of physical space on your vision?
    • Pomerantz: She said to keep in mind that school buildings are built specific to grade bands with different functions, and while new buildings may be cheaper up front and easier to fund, they are “bare bones.”
    • Schwarz: Where do municipal boundaries end? These institutions are the civic glue that holds communities together. It may be uncomfortable, but sharing among neighboring municipalities should be considered.
    • Pomerantz: A variant is to share services among municipalities rather than physical buildings.

Mr. Thomas then invited members of the audience to approach the microphone with questions:

  • Property taxes are rising; where are the savings?
    • Pomerantz: The “Say Yes to Education” model, where common services offered by multiple taxing bodies are consolidated.
      • How do we get more people involved? Door-to-door?
        • Pomerantz: Local social media as well as personal communications are useful. These community meetings serve this purpose. Flyers in local businesses and community buildings.
      • What financial and/or social value have you seen placed on historic buildings? How/when should we invest in new buildings?
        • Schwarz: Don’t throw away what is useful and yet don’t preserve everything forever. Most buildings can be repurposed. Historic character is an attraction for Shaker.
        • Struble: Think about modular and interchangeable space inside a building. The State Library of Ohio is in a building previously used to repair mining equipment.
        • Powerantz: Understand what can and cannot be done with existing buildings.
      • Has leadership communicated a single problem specific to the community?
        • Pomerantz: State funding cuts have created financial stress on communities; these three administrations are taking the lead in order to get ahead of this major problem.
  • Is there an explicit or implicit overlap with economic development?
    • Thomas: Yes, a new initiative like this can be an economic driver for a community.

Mayor Weiss then thanked all of the community members present for their interest. A question to be asked here is, “What do we want Shaker to be in the future?” This has led the three taxing authorities to several conclusions: We can’t rely on what was done in the past to be successful in the future. We are maintaining an aging infrastructure multiplied by three, which is the genesis of this effort. The Joint Facilities Task Force is initially composed of members from each of these three taxing authorities, and they will recruit community members to work with them. Experts will be brought in as the process moves forward. The Joint Facilities Task Force will utilize every communications media available to attract residents to participate. The two meetings on April 11 are our next opportunity to get community input.

Speaker Biographies

Felton Thomas Jr. is the immediate past president of the Public Library Association (PLA) and was appointed director of the Cleveland Public Library (CPL) in January 2009. Prior to that, he served as director of Regional Branch Services for the Las Vegas-Clark County (Nevada) Library District and president of the Nevada Library Association. He has served on the PLA Board of Directors since 2012, and was named to the Aspen Institute’s Task Force on Learning and the Internet in 2014.

Michelle Pomerantz is the Director of Regional Collaboration for Cuyahoga County. She began her career as a classroom teacher in Cleveland before joining the American Federation of Teachers as Deputy Director of the Office of the President. Her experience at the national level gave her an understanding of federal educational reform policies and advocacy strategies. In her current position, she supports regional collaboration amongst the 59 communities and many stakeholder groups in Cuyahoga County. She is also responsible for advocacy at the state and federal level representing Cuyahoga County’s interests in securing equitable funding and policies that promote regional priorities. Through that work, she seeks to utilize collaboration to increase prosperity and educational opportunities for all residents of Cuyahoga County.

Evan T. Struble is the Associate State Librarian for Library Development at the State Library of Ohio. Previously he worked as a Library Consultant with the State Library. Additionally, he continues to work part-time for the Upper Arlington Public Library. He has also worked for the library membership organization OhioNET, Westerville Public Library, Otterbein University’s Courtright Memorial Library, and the Meigs County District Public Library.

Terry Schwarz, FAICP (a member of the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners) is the director of Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. Her work at the CUDC includes neighborhood and campus planning, commercial and residential design guidelines, and ecological strategies for vacant land reuse. She launched the CUDC’s Shrinking Cities Institute in 2005 in an effort to understand and address the implications of population decline and large-scale urban vacancy in Northeast Ohio. As an outgrowth of the Shrinking Cities Institute, she established Pop Up City, a temporary use initiative for vacant and underutilized sites in Cleveland. In 2009 she received the Cleveland Arts Prize for Design. She teaches in the graduate design curriculum for the KSU College of Architecture and Environmental Design. She has a master’s degree in city and regional planning from Cornell University.

Frank Goforth, observer

Board of Education, March 2019

April 1st, 2019  |  Published in Observer Reports

March 13, 2019

Present: Jeffrey Isaacs (president), Ayesha Bell-Hardaway, William Clawson, Lisa Cremer, Meg Weingart

Others: Acting Superintendent Stephen Wilkins, Treasurer Bryan Christman

The meeting was called to order at 6 p.m. by Mr. Isaacs. Minutes of the March 7, 2019, were approved.

Onaway students Yulian Brown, Valentina Casanova-Owens, Summer Hollins, Luke Murray and Ruby Wang opened the meeting with song. Onaway Principal Eric Forman followed with brief remarks.

Public communication to the board is limited to three minutes. Typically the board does not respond or address a particular concern unless, upon occasion, an individual is directed to an information source. Three residents spoke. The first was Kathleen Sauline, who had applied for the superintendent position and had addressed the board in the past about her candidacy. She stated that her application was “tampered with” and then “put back together” by two senior members of the administration. Mr. Isaacs interjected by asking Ms. Sauline if her comments were appropriate in this setting. She continued, pointing out that she still had time left, resumed her comments and mentioned by name the two administrators. With 50 seconds left of her time, and immediately following the naming of those two individuals, her microphone was turned off. [Ms. Sauline has since pulled petitions to run this fall for a seat on the board.]

A parent commented on the excellence of the schools but is concerned about spending and the fiscal health of the district. Current and predicted lower enrollment trends as well as Shaker’s having the seventh highest spending rate for students in the state were mentioned. He urged the board to attend to these issues as part of the district’s five-year strategic plan, and to address these matters when selecting the new superintendent. Another parent said that the board packet prepared before meetings should include news articles published by the Shakerite. She said she had requested this of Dr. Hutchings and was hoping that Dr. Wilkins would reconsider the request. The Shakerite is an award-winning student newspaper. She feels inclusion of student articles would demonstrate that the district administration and board value student perspectives and journalism.

The Superintendent Search Update began with the announcement of the two finalists: Ms. Elizabeth Kirby and Dr. David Glasner. Ms. Kirby, a Cleveland native, is Chief of School Strategy and Planning for the Chicago Public Schools. Dr. Glasner is interim principal at Shaker Heights High School and Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the school district. The board voted unanimously to accept the two named candidates as finalists. Mr. Isaacs gave a brief description of each candidate’s resume and noted where there was more information on each finalist. Each will have a day-long visit to the district, and community members will be able to hear candidate presentations and to ask questions. [It has since been announced that Dr. Glasnerhas been offered the position of superintendent. Ms. Kirby was offered and has accepted the position of superintendent for the Cleveland Heights/University Heights School District.]

Dr. Erin Herbruck, Project Manager and current Director of Professional Development, briefly updated the board on the High School Principal Search. As of March 7, 60 completed applications have been received. The search will be conducted in a similar manner to the superintendent search. A consulting firm has been hired; there will be opportunities for public input by stakeholders through focus groups and an online survey for residents. Thus far, there are 160 surveys completed. A new principal will be announced in May.

Dr. Glasner with SHHS Assistant Principal Sara Chengelis reported on the High School Accreditation processconducted by an external review team from AdvancED Global Commission. The team visited SHHS for two days. Parents, students, staff and community members were interviewed and participated in surveys regarding the domains of “Leadership, Resource Capacity and Learning Capacity.” By the end of March, accreditation will be finalized and will remain in place for five years. Findings from the commission report follows: 23 out of 30 standards assessed as “Effective Practices”; five standards assessed as “Opportunities for Improvement”; tow assessed as “Priorities for Improvement.” Those two priorities are stated as:

1. “Learners have equitable opportunities to develop skills and achieve the content and learning priorities established by the institution.” Ms. Chengelis commented that the school has been aware of this and is continuing to address the concern that learners have equitable opportunities.

2. “The institution integrates digital resources into teaching, learning and operations to improve professional practice, student performance and organizational effectiveness.”

Pride of stakeholders, community spirit and a “can do attitude” were commented upon in the report. Ms. Chengelis noted that seeking accreditation, which is taken on voluntarily, is a reflective process centered on teaching and learning. Furthermore, the accreditation process sets up the school for a future IB evaluation process. The board commended Ms. Chengelis and commented on the hard work of all concerned and their willingness to tackle tough questions. All those involved were thanked.

The Fernway Update focused on the positive outcomes of negotiations between Gilbane (overseeing contractors for the rebuilding project) and the insurance company underwriting the reconstruction/repairs. In April bids for work will come in and hard numbers can be accurately assessed. Left to resolve with the insurance carrier are extra expenses involving busing and replacement costs on building contents. According to Mr. Boyer, Director of Operations, there will be options to mitigate any overages, and a number of areas where the district can save money. A conservative estimate would be 3 percent savings for the total cost of capital improvements and the Fernway project.

Unanimous approval by the board of all Personnel Items included: the authorization of an Ohio Dept. of Education Spanish Visiting Teacher Program, appointments, temporary employees, special assignments, and leaves of absences. Dr. Wilkins introduced and gave a warm welcome to the new head football coach, who enthusiastically made a few brief comments.

In the first of three required readings, the board approved proposed policies of the Board Policy Review Committee on the following: authorized signatures, tobacco use on district property by staff and students, and notification about sex offenders.

The board thanked Carmella Williams, who has served as Library Trustee for seven years. Dr. Timeka Rashid, currently the PTO co-president and Associate Dean of Students at Kent State, has been selected to take Ms. Williams place as the newest member of the Shaker Heights Library Board. Vacancies are advertised by the Board of Education so all residents have an opportunity to apply. Nineteen applications were received for this non-paid position. Ms. Weingart commented on the impressive pool of candidates.

The monthly Financial Report prepared by Mr. Christman was approved, and Mr. Christman was complimented on an excellent audit report. By unanimous vote, the board adopted the Tax Rate Resolution for the ensuing tax year. A summary of amounts required from the general property tax approved by the Budget Commission of Cuyahoga County and of the county fiscal officer’s estimated tax rates was presented. More information on the treasurer’s report can be found online on the posted agenda.

Recognition and Honors

The boys basketball team advanced to the OHSAA District Final. Dr. Wilkins congratulated thewhole team and Coach Danny Young.

Toriano Houston, Najee Lockett and Eli Meinhard competed in the District Wrestling Championships. Junior Najee Lockett is Shaker’s first District Wrestling Champion since 2008 and will compete in the State Wrestling Championships.

The high school orchestras competed in the OMEA State Orchestra Adjudicated Event. The String Orchestra competed in Class A, receiving a II rating (Excellent). The Chamber Orchestra competed in Class AA and received a I rating (Superior).

Congratulations were extended to Principal Miata Hunter and her staff for the work done on the Eighth Grade Community Project. This is a new collaborative service project for all eighth-grade students. Students presented their respective Community Projects to parents and the community at an event in February. The project allows the students to pursue a topic of interest in Middle School.

Seniors Lyle Yost and Chachi Gustafson competed at the OHSAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships. Lyle won the state diving championship, and became the first boy’s diving champion to win back-to-back titles since 1961. Chachi finished second in the 100-yard butterfly. Both are headed to Ohio State next fall to compete on the Ohio State Men’s Swimming and Diving team.

Ellie White, a fourth-grader at Fernway, was an exhibitor for the 39th Annual Youth Art Month Exhibition sponsored by the Ohio Art Education Association. The artwork was on display in Columbus for five weeks. She and teacher Wendy McGuffin-Cawley attended a recognition ceremony.

A Saint Baldrick’s event was hosted by the Class of 2021 at the high school. The Saint Baldrick’s Foundation is a donor-powered charity committed to supporting research to find cures for childhood cancers.

The meeting adjourned at 7:10 p.m.

Agendas, meeting packets, and meeting minutes will be posted on the district’s website, shaker.org. The next regular meeting of the Board of Education will take place on Tuesday, April 9, at 6 p.m. at the high school small auditorium.

Anne Batzell