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Information Regarding CH-UH Reduction in Force

March 22, 2016 – On Friday, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District announced a Reduction in Force (RIF) due to declining enrollment. Below are answers to questions received from stakeholders throughout the district.

What is the reason behind the Reduction in Force?
The CH-UH School District has seen a steady decline in student enrollment, and that trend is projected to continue into the future. Since 2007, the District has 900 fewer students enrolled in its schools, from 6,300 in 2007 to 5,400 in the fall of 2016. Independent enrollment projections suggest that District enrollment will decline by a further 800 students over the next 10 years. This action is necessary to bring staffing numbers in line with actual and projected enrollment.

How does the reduction affect the District financially?
While not the primary objective of this action, the District will see an annual savings of approximately $3.5 million from its operating budget. Neither the savings, nor the operating funds, are related to the construction projects underway on Phase I of the District’s Master Facilities Plan. Funds for the high school and middle school construction projects were generated from passing a bond issue in 2013.

What staffing groups are affected by the reduction?
Certified staff and teachers were notified on Friday. Administrators, professional staff and classified staff will be notified in early April. The Board of Education will vote on the reduction of certified staff and teachers at its April 5 meeting and on the reduction of administrators, professional staff and classified staff at its May 3 meeting. These timelines are in accordance with the collective bargaining agreements between the District and the unions.

How is educational programming affected by the reductions?
The District’s educational programming and course offerings will remain the same. Programming will not be eliminated at any level of the District. In some cases, courses will be consolidated due to low enrollment (i.e. advanced foreign language courses). Mentorship programs and extracurricular activities will remain the same as well. Teaching assignments for the 2016-2017 school year will be delivered in late April to redistribute staffing across the District in order to meet programming needs.

What is the impact on special education students?
Special education caseloads and instructional ratios for teachers serving cross-categorical students will increase slightly but remain below the standards set by the State of Ohio. Staffing for low incident classrooms will not change.

2016 – 2017 Projected Caseloads for Cross Categorical Intervention Specialists

Level

Projected Caseload

State Requirement

Elementary School

1:13

1:16

Middle School

1:13

1:16

High School

1:16

1:24

Instructional ratios for cross-categorical classrooms will be finalized upon the completion of the scheduling process.

The District has worked diligently to ensure a full continuum of services is available to our children with special needs. This continuum includes, but is not limited to, specially designed instruction and related services, full inclusion, consultation, co-teaching, resource classrooms, specialized classrooms and transition services.

How many positions are affected at each level and how will that impact programming?

Elementary Schools:

  • A total of 15 positions were reduced across the seven elementary schools. This includes 13 general education teaching positions and two special education teaching positions.
  • The average class size will increase from 17 students to 22 students.
  • Special education caseloads and instructional classes will increase slightly but still remain below the standards set by the state of Ohio (16:1). The District’s projected cross-categorical caseloads and instructional classes are projected to average 13 students at the elementary and middle school levels.
  • Each elementary building will continue to have teachers who will provide Title I support, specifically in the areas of ELA, reading and math.
  • The elementary schools will continue to offer all programming, including art, music, foreign language and physical education.
  • Each building will continue to have one guidance counselor.

Middle Schools:

  • A total of 12.5 positions were reduced between the two middle schools. This includes 9.5 general education teaching positions and three special education teaching positions.
  • Special education caseloads and instructional classes will increase slightly but still remain below the standards set by the state of Ohio (16:1). The District’s projected cross-categorical caseloads and instructional classes are projected to average 13 students at the elementary and middle school levels.
  • Both middle schools will continue to have teachers who provide math and ELA support.
  • All educational programming will continue to be offered at both middle schools.
  • Each building will continue to have two guidance counselors.

High School:

  • A total of 17.5 positions were reduced at the high school, including 14.5 general education teaching positions and three special education teaching positions. Here is a breakdown of the reductions for each content area:
    • Art – 1
    • English – 1
    • French – 1
    • Math – 2.5
    • Physical Education – 3
    • Science – 3
    • Social Studies – 1
    • Spanish – 1
    • Opportunity Lab (online credit recovery program) – 1
  • All current course offerings and educational programming will continue. Some classes with low enrollment numbers may be consolidated (for example: French 3 and French 4 will be consolidated into one class).
  • Advanced Placement (AP) course offerings will continue the same. Last year, the District began offering AP courses on an every-other-year rotational basis, and that process will continue.
  • Art classes will continue to be offered but could be consolidated pending course enrollment numbers.
  • Support programs such as AVID, MSAN and the 21st Century after-school program will continue.
  • Security staff at the high school will remain the same.
  • The high school will continue to have five guidance counselors at the building.

Bellefaire School:

  • A total of six positions could be reduced at Bellefaire School, pending a decision from the Ohio Department of Education regarding Wingspan Care Group’s intention to merge the educational services offered at the facility.
  • Since closing Bellefaire School, the District has continued to provide high quality educational services for students placed in the Intensive Treatment Unit (ITU). Students are placed in the ITU through the court system or privately placed by their families.
  • The Wingspan Care Group, the parent corporation for Bellefaire, Applewood and Monarch Teaching Technologies, has informed the District of their intention to merge the ITU educational services with Wingspan’s Eleanor Gerson School for the 2016-2017 school year.
  • This proposed change would end the District’s role as the educational service provider for the ITU. The District would continue to provide services in the areas of Child Find and non-public consultations.
  • To ensure we are providing advance notice and also to ensure adherence to the staffing timeline in the negotiated agreements the District included this proposed change in the staffing projections. As of today Wingspan Care Group is awaiting a final decision from the Ohio Department of Education. If approved by the Ohio Department of Education, the proposed staffing projections would be implemented. If the Ohio Department of Education does not approve the proposed change, or the decision is delayed, the proposed staffing projections would be amended to remove the reductions related to the ITU program.

Will all schools still have guidance counselors?
Yes, there will be at least one guidance counselor at each school. One guidance counselor will remain at each elementary school, two will remain at each middle school and five counselors will remain at the high school. A total of 2.5 counselor positions were reduced, including one at Options, one at Bellefaire (pending ODE decision) and a 0.5 position at Roxboro Elementary (retire/rehire position).

What was the process in deciding which staff members are impacted by the reduction in force?
The Reduction in Force process followed Article 5 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the District and the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union. The reduction list was created based on the following criteria:

  1. Attrition (resignations and retirements)
  2. Retire/Rehire positions
  3. Ineffective Rating (based on OTES final summative)
  4. Limited Contract Staff
  5. Seniority
  6. Teacher certifications

Based on these criteria, some schools appear to have faced more reductions than others. However, teaching assignments for the 2016-2017 school year will be delivered in late April to redistribute staffing across the District.

Will there be any staff members who are recalled?
There is the potential for some staff members to be called back or recalled due to future retirements or resignations. The recall process is in accordance with the Ohio revised code and the collective bargaining agreements between the District and the unions:

  • No new teachers shall be employed by the District while there are teachers on the RIF list who are certified for any vacancy in a teaching position.
  • When a position opens, a written letter will be sent notifying the employee.
  • Returning employees will have the same seniority, sick leave, and salary schedule placement as they would have earned before the RIF.
  • Limited contract teachers shall remain on the RIF list for a period of two years from the last day of active employment by the District.
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