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Parents express concerns about Highland athletic facilities

9/19/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Scott Kriska

Some residents living in the Highland Local School District voiced their concerns over the condition of the district’s athletic practice and playing fields at the Highland Board of Education meeting Sept. 16.

They voiced concerns over conditions leading to injuries, as well as facilities lacking appropriate necessities. Liability issues were discussed concerning injuries on the fields, as well as the safety of spectators.

Sharon Township resident Jim Florian stated the Athletic Boosters has deposited funds from fundraisers totaling $220,000 and stated the organization is prepared to give that money to the district to help solve some of the issues.

Highland Board of Education President Dr. Norman Christopher responded the board appreciates the efforts of all the booster organizations and is aware of the problems that were brought up.

Superintendent Catherine Aukerman stated a report of the condition of the facilities is due in November or December. She said once that report has been received, the board can present the needs of the district to the community. 

In other business:

  • Treasurer Neil Barnes explained the fiscal year 2014 appropriations. He said the total of all funds, including local, state and federal funds, is about $33.3 million. He said the total of the general operating appropriations is about $26.6 million. Barnes said the district continues to contain costs, and the district spends approximately 21 percent less per student than the state average.
  • Board member Diane Thomas reported she attended recent legislative liaison sessions for the Northeast Region of the Ohio School Boards Association and said she anticipates attending more meetings for better representation.
    Thomas also announced the Highland Foundation will hold its ninth annual benefit dinner Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. at Weymouth Country Club, 3946 Weymouth Road.
    She also said the Highland Foundation’s online report is available online.
  • Theresa Wright, of the Highland Foundation, reported the foundation is currently on a five-year spending high and wants to increase funding and awareness. She said the foundation is committed to $36,000 in funding this year.
    She also announced a special meeting will be held Oct. 15 to preview funding projects.
  • Director of Curriculum and Instruction Laurie Boedicker gave a detailed explanation of the district’s state report card.
    Gone are the overall ratings of Excellent or Continuous Improvement, replaced with letter grades on certain areas measuring achievement. The revamped report cards assign A through F letter grades to schools in nine different categories, which range from graduation rates to achievement gaps to student performance on state tests.
    Boedicker said the state report card gives a more complete picture and is easier to understand. She said while assessment in the past concentrated on competency to graduate, the focus now is having all students prepared for college or a career. Boedicker said measures are used to evaluate whether every student is succeeding regardless of income, race, culture or disability. She noted the district’s Performance Index has increased every year for the past five years. Boedicker gave specific information on all aspects of the state evaluation. She said the state report card can be accessed online at the Ohio Department of Education’s website at http://educa tion.ohio.gov/.
    [For more on area district report cards, see the Aug. 29, 2013, issue or visit the archives at www.akron.com.]
  • Bethany Dentler, Medina County Economic Development Corp. executive director, explained the community reinvestment area (CRA) recently approved in Granger Township. Dentler said she was at the meeting to educate the district about the CRA and distributed packets explaining the benefits of the CRA to the district. She stressed the school board will be represented on the township housing council making decisions about a company applying for a tax abatement through the CRA.

Also at the meeting, the board approved:

√ revised policies regarding co-curricular and extracurricular activities, interscholastic athletics, interscholastic extracurricular flexibility, admission of students from nonchartered schools or homeschooling, and hazing and bullying;

√ various donations made to all of the Highland schools by the Sharon Elementary Parent/Teacher Organization (PTO), Target, Madden Brothers in Brunswick and Holy Martyrs Catholic Church in Medina;

√ the use of various school facilities with associated fees waived; and

√ agreements with Applewood Centers, McGown and Markling and the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio.

The next Highland Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Media Center in Highland High School, located at 4150 Ridge Road.

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