Tuesday, February 19, 2019 Medina 28°

Local Medina County News

Levy request on the horizon for Medina Schools


MEDINA — Medina Schools plans to put a levy request on the ballot in spring or fall 2018 and the Board of Education will unveil its five-year strategic plan to the public at 9 a.m. Saturday at Medina Library.

Superintendent Aaron Sable said Monday nightat the board’s meeting that “One of the things we’re evaluating while going through this plan is we’re looking at our financial needs to determine what kind of levy we will need to recommend to the board.”

“I’m not prepared to present millages and ideas,” Sable said. “We need to have more discussion. I’d like to have a more solid plan with regards to the levy when we are ready to roll that out to the community.”

Sable said he would like to have a definite plan for a levy rollout by August.

“It’s important that it’s outlined before the start of the school year,” Sable said. “Once we hit the (2017-18) school year, I want the focus to be on academics and our students.”

The district operates under a 5.9-mill emergency levy of that expires at the end of 2018 and brings in about $6.6 million a year.

Treasurer David Chambers said to fully implement the ideas in the district’s five-year plan would cost an additional $1,440,540 a year.

The $1.44 million in new funds needed would translate to a property tax of an estimated 1.47 mills and would cost the owner of a $100,000 property about $4.29 a month, he said.

Sable said he, board members and various committees have been working on the plan since September.

The plan was the topic of discussion Monday at a work session. The board said it still could tweak some items in the plan if needed before Saturday.

“This strategic plan is going to outline decisions that we make moving down the road,” Sable said. “Even though we have set goals, we have action plans to meet those goals.

“The way we meet those goals could change year to year. The responsible thing for us to do is re-evaluate what we are doing as a district to meet our goals and make adjustments from one year to the next to make sure we’re progressing adequately or adjusting for any roadblocks that might come along the way.”

The total spending per year in the district’s general fund is about $104 million, Chambers has said.

One of the biggest goals in the strategic plan is the implementation of free all-day kindergarten by the 2022-23 school year.

“There’s a lot of good research out there that says that all-day kindergarten classes show better reading and math achievement gains than those in half-day,” said Tina Cassidy, director of educational services.

“It can produce long-term gains, especially for low income and minority students.”

In addition to academics, it also offers social, emotional and intellectual methods to kindergartners because they have more time to focus on activities, Cassidy said. Students also can develop at their own pace.

Full-day kindergarten is available in Medina Schools for a fee of $2,700 a year.

Paying for the full-day kindergarten class is the single most expensive program in the strategic plan, Sable said, other than some of the facility improvements.

Board member Tom Cahalan said he hopes to be able to accelerate the full-day kindergarten program before 2022.

Other key points in the strategic plan are:

  • Medina will boost inquiry-based learning, a method of teaching in which students gain knowledge in skills by working to investigate a complex problem. Students could work as a team to solve problems. STEM or STEAM learning falls under the umbrella of inquiry-based learning. STEM refers to science, technology, engineering and math, while STEAM adds “arts” to the mix.

These are areas that employers say they would like to see in their employees.

Cassidy said it’s not meant as a replacement for the basics.

“It’s going to be building over the five years (of the plan),” Sable said. “It’s ongoing. We have to make sure it’s properly implemented.”

  • The district wants to engage with the community, including senior citizens, residents who don’t have students in the district and with the business community.
  • The district will unveil many capital improvements, many the administration says are sorely needed.
  • The plan has a strong emphasis in curriculum, Sable said, separate from the areas of athletics, band, arts and theater.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.

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