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Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District News Article

Message to Families From Superintendent Kirby - December 11, 2020

December 11, 2020

Dear CH-UH Families,

I hope you have had a great week. I’m writing today with several important District updates.

Board of Education approves teachers’ contract
During their monthly regular meeting on December 8, the Board of Education approved a new contract for our teachers’ union. The ratified agreement covers the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years. I am glad that we were able to reach an agreement that’s more sustainable for the long term. Both sides worked hard throughout the negotiation process and were able to ultimately agree on important compromises. Read more about the new contract and additional highlights from the meeting here.

During the meeting, board members discussed the root cause of the District’s financial losses and strained negotiations: EdChoice laws and inequitable school funding in Ohio. The District lost $7 million last year, and expects to lose more than $9 million this year due to the way EdChoice vouchers are funded in Ohio.

Together with the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union, we will continue to testify in front of state lawmakers, provide Heights residents with information and ways to support fair school funding legislation, and work closely with our advocacy partners such as the Heights Coalition for Public Education.

The latest on House Bill 305
Ohio lawmakers have been considering House Bill 305, otherwise known as the . The plan proposes to overhaul the way state funding for school districts is calculated and distributed, aiming for less reliance on property taxes and helping districts provide the highest quality education possible for each child. The Ohio House approved House Bill 305 last week 84-8. However, it appears likely that the Ohio Senate until next year, at the earliest.

Senator Matt Dolan, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, that HB 305 is “a great framework to build on during the state’s next budget process, which begins in January.” He also stated that he is in favor of the state, instead of the school district, directly paying for EdChoice vouchers. Dolan added that there are issues with the bill that need to be resolved, and he would like the Senate to have the in-depth hearings this bill deserves.

Although it may seem like a setback, I feel that we must allow the elected officials some time to fulfill Dolan’s plan of carefully vetting this bill so that it is done correctly and with attention to these extremely important details. In the new year, we will work with our advocacy partners here in the Heights and in Columbus to be sure this work moves forward as promised. We will continue to make clear that in 2021, this must be a priority.

Stay-at-home advisory
The District remains in its high-alert plan for staff due to the Cuyahoga County Board of Health’s issuance of a through December 18 (unless otherwise determined by the District). Staff members who can work from home during this time are being advised to do so. To be clear, this is not a shutdown. Our goal is to help limit the spread of the virus during this surge of COVID-19 cases in Cuyahoga County.

We will continue monitoring the case data in our area and recommendations from our state and local boards of health. The released by the Ohio Department of Health yesterday show that Cuyahoga County remains at Level 3 (red) with high incidence and five of the seven indicators met.

COVID-19 case summary for the week of December 7
This week, we received reports of one staff member and one student testing positive for COVID-19. Both of these individuals had been working/learning remotely. These cases are reflected on the District’s .

When staff and students who have been in District buildings test positive for COVID-19, we send notices to the families whose children attend the affected schools and to the staff members of those schools. We also post the notices on chuh.org and our District app, available for and .

I hope you all enjoy your weekend and continue to stay safe and healthy.

Sincerely,
Superintendent Kirby

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