APS dress code rolls out, uniforms could be next
A new dress code went into effect for students in the Akron Public Schools (APS) District this week, and a recommendation on uniforms is due in October. Both issues came up for discussion at the Aug. 27 APS Board of Education meeting.
APS Communications Director Karen Ingraham is the chairperson of the committee that instituted the dress code. Posters illustrating the dress code are hanging in the schools, and similar fliers were mailed to parents.
School board president Linda Kersker said the committee would present its recommendation for elementary and middle school uniforms in October. Kersker said the community will get a chance to voice opinions on the uniform proposal before the school board takes a vote.
In other news, school board member James Hardy talked about the proposed Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for the school reconstruction project.
“I would like to clarify that the PLA would not mandate union participation,” he said. “It’s just that non-union contractors would have to provide union levels of health care, pension contributions and prevailing wage.”
Kersker said the PLA document was being reviewed by the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC). She noted the school board has neither officially discussed the PLA option nor expressed opinions about it.
“I don’t think we will discuss it until after September,” she said, “which is when we will receive a report from our construction monitor, Robert Fisher, on the percentage of the project workers that live in Akron.”
In other business, Superintendent Sylvester Small commended Judy Hill for her work on a recent event where 1,000 students and their families visited the Akron Zoo.
“More than 18 community organizations and businesses sponsored the event,” Hill said. “The kids got free admission to the zoo, free Metro bus rides and free school supplies.
“We also tried to target special needs students, who sometimes can’t make it to an outing like this,” she added.
The school board also voted to approve a new disciplinary policy for its employees.
“This is about treating employees fairly, so everyone is on the same page,” said Small. “These days, if you don’t have a policy that people are trained on and that is passed by the school board, you could have serious legal issues.”
Before the meeting, the Joint Board of Review met to discuss the school reconstruction project. Architect Mark Salopek presented the plans for the combined East High School and Goodyear Middle School.
The plans call for separate entrances for the 400 students in grades seven and eight and the 900 students in grades nine to 12. The building would be a renovation and addition to the current East High School. The cost is approximately $34 million. The Joint Board approved the schematic design.
The Joint Board also approved the design development phase for the Science, Math and Technology Community Learning Center, which will be an addition to Inventure Place. The project will cost approximately $14.5 million, and the design will include space for visiting inventors and professors.
In other news, board member Linda Omobien reported she spoke to her counterparts at other urban districts about furniture contracts, which in Akron have all gone to the same company. Omobien said the other cities unbundled the contracts, allowing smaller companies to compete for the ability to provide furniture items.
Kersker introduced a proposal to encourage public participation in future Joint Board meetings. The proposal calls for a maximum of three speakers per meeting who could each speak for up to three minutes.
The Joint Board’s next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 7 at noon at the Administration Building, 70 N. Broadway. Akron School Board’s next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 10 at 5:30 p.m. at the Administration Building.