Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District News Article

Message to Families From Superintendent Kirby - November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020 

Dear CH-UH Families,

I hope you have all had an excellent week so far. I’m writing this evening with several important District updates.

Issue 69 official results
We were pleased to learn that the official results from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections show that Issue 69, our school levy, has passed by 135 votes. An automatic recount has been triggered by this slim margin. According to the Board of Elections, the recount will begin on Tuesday, November 24. We trust the process and await the final, certified results of the election.

I must thank you and our entire Heights community once again for continuing to prove your dedication to the success of our Tiger Nation students.

Fair School Funding Plan
As I mentioned in last week’s letter, the Ohio General Assembly is discussing the Fair School Funding Plan, a bipartisan plan that was first proposed in 2019. The plan proposes to overhaul the way state funding for school districts is calculated and distributed, aiming for less reliance on property taxes and helping districts provide the highest quality education possible for each child.

The plan in legislative form is now known as Senate Companion Bill 376 to House Bill 305. I testified in committee in favor of this bill on November 17 (view the video at 4:52:01) and Board of Education President Jodi Sourini submitted testimony, which can be viewed here. The CH-UH Board of Education passed a resolution in support during their work session that same evening.

This plan could bode well for CH-UH, allowing us to ask less of an already highly taxed community and ensuring that the funding we receive is based on the actual cost of educating our students. If passed as currently written, relief will be slowly phased in over the course of several years. However, as is so often the case with progressive legislation, getting it passed will be an extremely steep hill to climb. The fight for fair school funding continues, and we will continue to advocate for meaningful change to benefit our students, staff and community.

You can support the Fair School Funding Plan by writing to state legislators (list here) and using this letter as a template. Handwritten or printed, mailed letters generally have greater impact than an email, although an email is still greatly appreciated and worthwhile. Calling is effective as well; the legislators’ phone numbers are listed on their web pages, which are linked in the contact list.

Stay-at-home advisory
Due to the Cuyahoga County Board of Health’s issuance of a stay-at-home advisory yesterday afternoon, the District has instituted a high-alert plan for staff, effective through December 17 (unless otherwise determined by the District). Staff members who can work from home during this time are being advised to do so, and work schedules are being reconfigured for those who must work in District buildings. To be clear, this is not a shutdown; the school system is an essential business that remains open, including our student instruction and classes, and the operation of our District buildings and facilities. Our goal is to help limit the spread of the virus during this surge of COVID-19 cases in Cuyahoga County.

The data released by the Ohio Department of Health today show that Cuyahoga County remains at Level 3 (red) with high incidence and four of the seven indicators met.

Library switches to curbside services
Due to the recent stay-at-home advisory, all Heights Libraries buildings are now closed to the public, but will continue to serve residents with curbside pick-up of materials, phone reference, printing, and virtual services until at least December 17. Further details and new branch hours can be found here. The Greater Cleveland Foodbank Food distribution on Monday at Lee Road will continue as planned.

PPS survey reminder
The District has partnered with Say Yes to Education’s Consulting Services to bring the Postsecondary Planning System (PPS) to our schools. This tool allows us to identify students’ needs across academic, mental health, physical health, and social-emotional domains and link them to programs and services that will help meet these needs.

In order to maximize the capacity of the PPS, each K-12 student’s existing school performance data will be rounded out with information gathered through voluntary surveys completed by parents/guardians, staff members, and the students themselves. We ask that you complete the parent/guardian survey for each of your children enrolled in CH-UH Schools in grades K-12 this year. In our time of COVID-19 and remote learning, these support systems are more vital than ever.    

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your week and continue to stay safe.

Superintendent Kirby

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