West Side Education News & Notes
APS board sets Spondike termination hearing
DOWNTOWN AKRON — During a special meeting Dec. 20, the Akron Public Schools Board of Education set a date and time for a termination hearing for teacher David Spondike.
According to Board President Jason Haas, the board set the hearing for Jan. 11 at 9 a.m. and also agreed to name Lee Skidmore as the referee in the hearing. But Haas said the date and the time, while required to be set by the board by statute, is contingent on the referee’s availability.
Skidmore’s was one of three names supplied by the state for the board and Spondike to agree upon for the hearing, Haas added.
Spondike, a Firestone High School music teacher, has been suspended from teaching since Oct. 28, the day after he posted an angry message using a racial epithet on his Facebook page after an episode during Halloween trick-or-treating the day before at his Copley house.
He later posted a YouTube video in which a friend took responsibility for the content. But Spondike, instead of showing up for a hearing with the school board and administrators Nov. 21, sent them a letter in which he took responsibility for the postings, which, he said, “were done in a moment of anger and with unnecessary haste.”
Following a closed hearing with Spondike Dec. 2, board members voted Dec. 9 to send Spondike a letter the next day of the board’s intent to consider termination of his teaching contract, the first step in his due process under Ohio law, according to APS legal counsel Rhonda Porter.
In other business during the special meeting, Haas said the board reinstated seven custodial positions at the district’s middle schools. The positions had been eliminated during cuts last year, and some employees were reduced to a five-hour work week, Haas said. Those employees will be given the first opportunity to apply for the custodial worker positions, he added.
Highland school board OKs contract for treasurer
GRANGER — The Highland Local Schools Board of Education held a special meeting Dec. 20 and unanimously approved a new five-year contract for Treasurer Neil Barnes.
The contract term will run from Aug. 1, 2014, through July 31, 2019.
Additionally, the board bumped Barnes’ annual salary from $88,813 to $99,000 to be more competitive with other school districts, according to district officials.
The next Highland Board of Education meeting is set for Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Media Center at Highland High School, 4150 Ridge Road.
Partnership helps Highland High School seniors
GRANGER — The Highland Foundation has partnered with College Now to help make the process of applying for financial aid and scholarships more manageable for soon-to-graduate high school seniors and their families.
College Now has been serving more than 70 schools and 22,000 students in Greater Cleveland for decades. Highland is the first school in Medina County to partner with College Now, according to district officials.
College Now Consultant Laura Boswell has been able to meet and counsel numerous families regarding finances.
“The questions range from basic financial aid to very specific, unique family situations,” she said.
The Highland Foundation is providing this service at no cost. Last year, College Now assisted more than 50 Highland families, and two graduates received scholarships from College Now that will be renewable for all four years of their college careers, according to district officials.
Financial Aid Night will take place Feb. 4 from noon to 7 p.m. at Highland High School. Individual appointments can be made from noon to 4 p.m. From 5 to 7 p.m., staff will be available in the computer lab to assist with filing and completing Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSAs). Participants are asked to arrive by 6:15 p.m. and bring: a W-2 (for parents and student) or paystub (from December for parents and student); 2013 federal tax form (2012 information can be used to estimate); checking/savings account information for both student and parent; 529 account information (for all children); asset information (does not include home value, life insurance or retirement account); and Social Security numbers for both parents and student.
For details, Highland district students can contact Boswell at 216-408-1452 or LBoswell@collegenowgc.org.
Kathleen Folkerth, Stephanie Kist and Scott Kriska contributed to these reports.
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