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Revere school board opposing voucher proposal

3/28/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Ariel Hakim

Taking the lead from the Ohio School Boards Association, the Revere Local Schools Board of Education approved a resolution at the March 19 meeting formally opposing provisions of House Bill (HB) 59.

According to the board’s resolution, HB 59 would increase the number of public-funded vouchers for students to attend private or parochial schools.

The district opposes two voucher programs. One would provide tuition vouchers to families of children entering kindergarten whose household income is less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level, expanding the following year to include children entering first grade, totaling $25 million over the biennium. The other would provide vouchers to students at schools that fail to meet the Third Grade Reading Guarantee for two successive years, according to the resolution.

“The concern is with this voucher proposal, instead of funding this proposal in Columbus, it would take away local dollars,” said Treasurer David Forrest.

“The other concern,” he added, “is this opens the door for vouchers” to be presented in an even broader fashion.

“The other issue we have is there is no accountability for private and parochial schools students may transfer to, and then we’re funding that,” added Superintendent Randy Boroff.

“The operation of the proposed programs would effectively reduce funds from the already financially beleaguered local public school districts, resulting in fewer resources for the education of remaining students,” the resolution states.

Revere’s school board is opposed “to any legislation that seeks to transfer public dollars to support private education,” it reads.

Also at the meeting, the board approved an agreement for an emergency telephone service the district is legally obligated to provide, according to Forrest.

At one point, the district had funding from the state of Ohio and later from the Summit County Educational Service Center to provide the service, but that outside funding is now no longer available, he added.

The agreement is for a 24-hour hotline service from Security Voice for students, parents, community members and others to inform the district anonymously if they have school or student safety concerns. The estimated annual cost is $2,268.

The toll-free number is manned by a representative who can determine whether the call would need to be referred immediately to the superintendent, said Forrest. The hotline number is to be posted on the district’s website, on posters around the schools and in handbooks, according to Boroff. The company also will provide magnets and brochures to distribute to students, added Forrest.

Another agreement approved at the meeting was with Ripcho Studio to provide student portraits and planners/handbooks for a two-year period. Assistant Superintendent Kathy Bearer said four different companies were interviewed prior to deciding to go with Ripcho.

Among personnel items approved at the meeting were new two-year employment agreements, from Aug. 1 to July 31, 2015, for Phil King, Revere High School principal; Deanne Pastva, food service supervisor; and David Tomei, transportation supervisor.

In other action, the board approved the K-12 English Language Arts Adoption for the 2013-14 school year at a cost not to exceed $600,000, awarding the adoption to Holt McDougal (elementary) and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (secondary). 

The board also accepted donations, with appreciation, including $17,657 from Revere Middle School’s PTA to purchase an Apple iPad Learning Lab package, a MacBook Air and accessories, for the school; $438 for the middle school to purchase items for the Drum Ensemble program, also from the PTA; $400 for Student Council, from Zoup! owners Maureen and Paul Harris; $2,150 for district programs from Bath Volunteers for Service; $1,000 for additional funding for the Totten Team Scholarship, from Mark and Stacy Totten; and $134 in surplus funds from Michael Paxton’s November 2011 school board election campaign.

A trip Dec. 27 through Jan. 1, 2014, for the high school marching band and choir to participate in the Fiesta Bowl Parade and Band Championship in Phoenix, Ariz., also was approved.

The board will meet for a work session April 9 at 6 p.m. in the Administration Building, 3496 Everett Road, and for its meeting April 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the Revere High School Library, 3420 Everett Road.

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