June 27, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Medina High School to cut classes in light of $5.9 million deficit

MEDINA — Medina High School will offer fewer courses next year, the result of cost-cutting measures in light of a projected $5.9 million deficit by June 2012.

“We’re trying to find other ways for kids to have opportunities that may not look traditional — whether online learning or shared courses,” board President Susan Vlcek said.



Vlcek said the board relied heavily on high school administrators when choosing courses to cut. Administrators work closely with course schedules and recognize which courses are requested the most, and which have lower enrollments and “couldn’t be an option anymore,” she said.

Superintendent Randy Stepp said the district is exploring post-secondary opportunities to keep some advanced placement courses.

“We shifted kids in higher-level courses down in the elementary school and put them on a track so that they could have advanced placement calculus … and for us to pull the rug out from under them at the moment they reach that pinnacle isn’t fair to them,” Stepp said at a recent school board meeting.

The district was able to maintain AP Calculus next year through a partnership with the University of Akron. Similarly, it was able to keep language courses by offering them as post-secondary credit through the university.

Sharing courses with other school districts in Medina County also is an option, he said, and three districts have expressed interest.

“For example, they may be offering AP Chemistry next year … and they allow our students who need AP Chemistry and are seniors to come to their school to get the AP course they need; and if we offer something they don’t offer in advanced placement courses, we’ll trade with them so it doesn’t cost any district any money,” Stepp said.

Shared courses could be accomplished on-site or through a distance learning lab, Vlcek said.

Enrollment policy varies by district, so she said on-site courses could be “the exception.”

“It’s all in the discussion phase,” she said. “It’s still very early in the process.”

Medina Schools has cut more than 120 certified and support staff in the last year. Stepp said the district may cut up to 50 more jobs to meet budget demands.

Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or lhlavinka@medina-gazette.com.