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Education

Revere district updating social studies materials

7/18/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Ariel Hakim

Many students in Revere Local Schools will see new social studies textbooks in their classrooms this fall.

According to Assistant Superintendent Kathy Bearer at the district’s July 9 Board of Education meeting, the last purchase for social studies was in 2005, and some of the district’s teaching materials on the subject are 17 years old.

Revere High School staff worked together to decide the best purchases, she said, and several publishers are involved, varying by grade levels, including Pearson, McGraw-Hill and others.

However, kindergarten through third-grade students won’t benefit from new materials yet, said Bearer, to give elementary teachers a chance to get comfortable with new language arts resources adopted by the board in March.

“We wanted to acclimate teachers to those resources first,” she said.

A committee worked to see that adopted materials and instructional resources align with Ohio Department of Education standards and curriculum requirements, added Bearer.

The board, which was represented by just three of its members at the meeting, approved the adoption at a cost not to exceed $250,000.

During the upcoming school year, math and world languages will be the next committees to get together to consider purchases for those subjects, according to Bearer.

Board members Dana Appel, Claudia Hower and Diana Sabitsch also reviewed an executive summary of key operating funds for the 2013 fiscal year, which ended June 30, presented by Treasurer David Forrest.

Within the General Fund, revenue was $37.4 million, and expenditures came to $36.3 million, Forrest said. Outstanding purchase orders came to $940,000, leaving a net surplus of $145,000, he said.

Forrest noted 71 percent of General Fund revenue came from property tax collections, amounting to $26.6 million.

Spending within the General Fund included $18.8 million for salaries and $6.8 million for benefits, according to Forrest. The district exceeded its budget by $341,000 in spending $3.9 million for purchased services, due to contracts for special needs students being more than anticipated, he explained.

The district’s Permanent Improvement (PI) Fund holds $2.3 million, an “extremely healthy” end-of-year balance, he added.

During a standard year, the PI Fund takes in $1.2 million, but 2013 revenue, at $1.5 million, was higher than usual due to the turf project, he said.

Those monies can be used to pay for improvements to roofs, parking lots and the bus garage when necessary, he added.

The district also has another $890,000 in its Building Funds, which can be used for facility improvements, he said.

The Food Service Fund is operating on a deficit, and 2013 expenditures of $1.2 million required transfers of $146,000, though its goal is to break even, with food prices ideally covering expenses, Forrest said.

“[The Food Service Fund] just seems like an area where we’re needing a little bit more money year after year,” Appel said.

Appel said she has been reading about school districts declining federal funds to get out from under the requirements that go along with accepting the money.

If the district did that, it wouldn’t have to adhere to portion sizes, equity pricing or other nutritional requirements, according to Kevin Matowitz, coordinator of business services.

Matowitz added the district has never really researched it. Appel asked for data, saying she wondered if the district could spend less while still providing nutritious meals for students.

In related business, the board agreed to increase school lunch fees by 10 cents for high school and elementary students. Middle school lunches will continue to cost $2.60, while at the high school, lunches will cost $2.70. In the elementary schools, students will now pay $2.55 for lunches.

The increases are a result of federal requirements, as well as expanded cafeteria hours at Hillcrest Elementary School, according to Matowitz.

Also, the board accepted resignations of two administrators at Revere Middle School. Andy Peltz, assistant principal, accepted a principal’s position with Avon Lake City Schools, and Joe Niemantsverdriet, principal, is going to work as a principal in Lakewood City Schools, according to Bearer.

Among other personnel items, the board approved an amended list of supplemental contracts for the upcoming school year.

Board members decided to hold off on approving a supplemental contract position to head the high school’s Dance Team.

“Currently there were only five girls that were going to be participating in this program, and I question the need of a stipend with only five participants,” said Sabitch, adding that she would like more information before voting on that contract.

Also at the meeting, the board:

  • accepted, with appreciation, three spirit flags donated by Mary Serpentini;
  • agreed to dispose of obsolete items, including high school text books and technology;
  • renewed property, fleet and liability insurance with Ohio Casualty, effective Aug. 1 for 12 months, at a cost of $99,000;
  • approved several agreements for student services, including with: Jay Berk, Ph.D and Associates for students with behavioral and emotional needs; Berlitz for ESL services; Diane Stevens for occupational therapy; and the Cleveland Clinic for support and consultation services for students with autism; and
  • approved the use of a school bus and driver to participate in a parade in Bath Township next month. The driver will provide services at no cost to the district, according to the board.

The board will meet for special meetings July 30 and Aug. 13, both at 5 p.m. in the Administration Building, 3496 Everett Road, and for its regular meeting Aug. 27 at 6:30 p.m. in the Revere High School Library, 3420 Everett Road.

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