June 29, 2016

Partly sunny

Residents: Medina School District lacks communication

MEDINA — Residents offered Medina Schools ways it could improve communicating with the public, including board agendas in advance of meetings and timely news updates.

Jeanne Hurt, the district’s community relations director, hosted two meetings asking for public feedback Thursday.

“We do have critical issues that we’re faced with, but we also have great things that are happening,” Hurt said during the morning session. “It’s this constant balancing act.”

One parent, Brie Evans, said she would like to see the district get news out more quickly. She said she heard about a plan to close Heritage Elementary School if the 5.9-mill operating levy fails in November from Facebook posts, or from people texting and tweeting, as opposed to directly from district staff.

“If school had the first blast, it would be better at managing the message,” she said.

Ron Ross, who is running for a school board seat in November, said he would like to know what will be discussed at board meetings ahead of time.

“When I go to the meetings, everything is new,” he said.

Board President Karla Robinson, who attended the session, said the school board would discuss how to improve communication at Monday’s work session, including whether the work sessions should be videotaped along with regular board meetings. She said there are pros and cons to this idea.

“A lot of ideas are placed on the table,” she said. “We don’t act on all of them, only a small number.”

The work session is 5 p.m. in Medina High School’s media center.

Char Arthur, a retired teacher, said she would like to see a television program that shows students benefiting from a recent $228,619.70 contract to lease 190 Apple Macbooks, “for parents to see where their money went to.”

Jarrod Fry, Medina Cable Access general manager, said the district is looking into starting a YouTube channel for those who do not have cable.

Medina Schools also will be unveiling a website in the next few days at www.medinabees.org.

Hurt said the site will save the district about $7,000 and have improved navigation and an updated staff directory.

Ways the district communicates with the public, Hurt said, include:

• Eight-page “Bee Informed” tabloid, printed since the 1980s at no cost to the district in The Gazette the third Thursday of each month.

• District’s website.

• Newsletter e-mailed twice a month.

• Information sent weekly to local media that highlights students and district events.

• District’s Facebook page.

• Community events, such as spirit nights.

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.