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2013 03

QUESTIONS FROM THE MARCH 19, 2013 BOARD MEETING

Question: Why is the new treasurer making $6,000 more than former treasurer, Bonnie Brockway?  

Answer: The Treasurer’s pay is negotiated between the Board of Education and the Treasurer. When hiring a Treasurer to replace Mrs. Brockway the goal was to attract a school treasurer with experience who would be able to take over the Jefferson Area Local School’s finances at a time when Ohio’s school funding system is undergoing changes, where school funding has been severely cut and future funding is uncertain.  Mrs. Brockway had retired from her previous position prior to coming to Jefferson and this was reflected in her salary. The Board of Education recognized that the position of Treasurer is critical for the school district and sought to bring to the school system a person with the skills necessary to carry-on the work of Mrs. Brockway while moving the district forward. They are confident that they did so in hiring Mrs. Pat Smith.

Question: Why not hire a younger and lesser paid principal instead of renewing Larry Meloro?  

Answer:  The question is phrased in a way that is problematic. The school district by law and policy does not discriminate by age either in hiring or in remuneration. 

The question could be rephrased as: Why not hire a less experienced principal who could potentially cost the district less money? 

Experience is a valuable attribute for a school district such as ours, that is seeing many leadership changes, teacher retirements, budgetary challenges that are leading to increased class sizes, less people employed by the district and changes in teacher evaluation, curriculum, assessment and instruction. 

As a result of Mr. Meloro having been retired and then rehired, his salary is less expensive than would be if he had not retired since he now earns the starting salary for administrators.

This past year, the superintendent recommended Mr. Meloro for a two year contract. The Board of Education declined to grant this recommendation. Under the law, when an administrator is recommended by the superintendent for a two year contract and the Board does not grant it, the administrator is automatically given a one year contract. The Board agreed that it was not their intent to imply that Mr. Meloro has performed in less than an exemplary way. He has been a valued member of the District's administrative team for many years.

This aside, the Board of Education intended to reduce the number of administrators in the school district. This would lead to Mr. Meloro being reduced in force because as a retired/rehired administrator he would be the less senior member of the administrative team.  

Subsequently, the Board hired its new superintendent internally and promoted the High School Assistant Principal to High School Principal. They also decided not to fill the High School Assistant Principal position thus eliminating one administrative position.  Through this chain of events Mr. Meloro will return as Rock Creek’s principal for 2013-14 with a one year contract.


Question: At what salary is Mr. Meloro being renewed and with what benefits? 

Answer: Mr. Meloro’s salary will be $75,937 (step 0, the lowest level of the administrative salary schedule) and he will have benefits afforded to other district employees.

Question:  Is it the Board’s intention to eliminate an administrative position? Will the new Superintendent  assist with teacher evaluations?

Answer: One administrative position has been eliminated. The new superintendent will be involved in the evaluation process including the implementation of the Ohio Principal Evaluation System and assisting with teacher evaluations. 

 
Questions: Why do so many teachers attend meetings? There were 79 substitute teachers last month so teachers could attend professional meetings.  Can meetings be held after school? Teachers are paid for more hours per day than the students are there so why not have the meetings after the students leave during time teachers are being paid?  

Answer: The Jefferson Area Local School District was awarded $181,462.00 for a four year  Race to the Top grant (2013-14 is the last year of the grant) and the School Improvement-Sub A Title I School Improvement Grant $55,000 These grants are intended to support RttT and School improvement initiatives including:  

•Implementing Ohio’s new state standards for language arts, mathematics, science and social studies as well as all other subjects as they become available. 
•Implementing a program of rigorous formative and summative assessments 
•Preparing students for Ohio's next generation of state assessments 
•Using data to make sound educational decisions for every student and
•Preparing students to graduate with a sense of purpose and well prepared for college, work and life
•Preparing teachers and administrators to fully implement the new teacher evaluation system mandated by law.
•Developing and implementing the Third Grade Reading guarantee as required by law.
•Administering Ohio’s new Alternate Assessment for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities (AASCD) also required by law
•As a part of RttT in 2013-14 we will adopt and train teachers in using a state-of-the-art instructional improvement system (IIS) system that lets teachers analyze student achievement and select the best learning resources.  Thinkgate, LLC. has been selected by ODE to provide an instructional improvement system (IIS) for schools in Ohio and Massachusetts. Both states’ education agencies agreed to create powerful online learning platforms as part of their federal Race to the Top grants and teamed up to conduct a competitive procurement.

Substitutes are used to bring teachers together by grade level or content area to do this work together. 

Sometimes the work is done during the school day, especially when the work is being done in 6-7 hour sessions. Other times it is done after school or on a Saturday. Regardless these costs are funded with Grant Funds including Race to the Top, Title I School improvement grant for the Junior High School (2012-13 and 2013-14), some Title I funds and district professional development funds if budgeted. 

Note: The State Board of Education adopted statewide evaluation framework requires boards of education to include in their evaluation policy the District’s plan for the allocation of financial resources to support professional development.  This is a local decision that needs to be made by the Board, in consultation with District administrators and teachers.  

 
Question:  Is the district replacing all three school roofs, even at Rock Creek Elementary too? Who will inspect the work?  

Answer:  All three school buildings will have a total roof replacement of the shingled roofs along with remediating insulation voids at the eaves and other areas. Rock Creek Elementary has the same design as the other schools and is experiencing similar performance issues that result in problems of heat loss, poor ventilation, severe icicles, damage to gutters, and other troubles. The project will consist of a total roof tear off to the metal decking for repair or replacement of vapor barriers, insulation, vented nail base, shingles, vented eaves, flashing, and gutters. The work will be monitored by an onsite inspector assigned to each building by Mays Consulting and Evaluation Services, Inc., who did the inspection report and developed the repair specifications.

 
Question:  Were there efforts to hire local for the roof repair work?  Did they have competitive bids? 

Answer:  In compliance with statutory discretion granted in ORC 3313.46 and 153.17 the contract for the roof remediation was not competitively bid because it is repair work to an existing, competitively bid project. Quotes were solicited and three roofing companies attended a pre-quote meeting.  Two companies responded with quotes, and A.W. Farrell & Son, Inc. from Solon, Ohio was awarded the contract based on their lower quote and responsible business record. Local workers have been encouraged to apply and some have been hired by A.W. Farrell, including recent graduates of Jefferson Area Local High School.
 
 
Letter read at 3-19-13 Board Meeting by Laura Guthleben representing OAPSE 

Madam President, Board Members, Mr. Hladek,

My name is Laura Guthleben, and I am the President of OAPSE Local 419, the union of support staff members at Jefferson Local Schools. Our members work in the Buildings and Grounds, Food Service, and Transportation Departments, as well as perform the duties of Paraprofessionals, Secretaries, Monitors, and Nurse.

Additionally, we are taxpayers in this district. We are members of the Athletic and Band Boosters, Parent-Teacher organizations, as well as other programs that benefit our students and our schools. Most of our children attend or graduated from Jefferson Schools.

We are proud of our school district. We are proud of the accomplishments of both our teaching and support staffs. But we are most proud of our students. We work with them. We work FOR them. We always try to give them that extra boost that allows them to excel. And sometimes, we cry with them.

Most of our 80 members have served the district for ten years or more. We know our jobs. We know when we're effective, and we also recognize inefficient methods and procedures. We know our jobs.

The district is facing hard times as a result of the Governor's budget cuts and his elimination of guaranteed funding. This, as everyone here knows, places the burden of funding our schools squarely on the backs of all of us. As I said, we are taxpayers. We are also seasoned workers who know how to perform our jobs effectively. This .is why we're dismayed that the Administration has not attempted to solicit our input into cost-saving measures. We repair and drive the buses.

We clean, heat, and maintain our schools. We feed, care for, and monitor the students. We answer the phones and maintain the records. Our members contribute not only our tax dollars, but also our skills to keep the schools running . A committee from OAPSE 419 would welcome a meeting with Board and members of the administration to advance proposals that would help to streamline operations and cut costs. We're offering not just our labor, but our expertise.

As taxpayers and parents, we are all in this together. LET US WORK TOGETHER. I look forward to your response. Thank you.