April 16, 2014

Medina
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Medina schools: Interim superintendent talks levy repercussions

Interim Medina Schools Superintendent Dave Knight took questions from community members and spoke in detail about November’s levy at a Thursday night forum.

“Everyone wants to know, not just what happens if it passes, but what happens if it fails,” Knight said.

Medina Schools interim Superintendent Dave Knight speaks to about 50 parents and school staff about the November levy in one of a series of community meetings, this one conducted Thursday night at Heritage Elementary School. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY KIERA MANION-FISCHER)

Knight said the district will need to cut $3 million from its budget over the next five years if the levy fails and no new money is approved.

He and district administrators came up with a plan that would cut $1 million from the budget. It includes closing Heritage Elementary School in 2014 and creating “banded” elementary schools with two grades at each building; eliminating middle school sports and extracurricular activities; and reducing electives at Medina High School.

Knight said the administration was unable to come up with the $3 million in cuts.

“We came back to the board and said, ‘It can’t be done,’ ” he said.

About 50 people attended Knight’s presentation at Heritage, one of a series of community meetings to provide a forum for people to ask questions about the upcoming five-year, 5.9-mill levy on the Nov. 5 ballot.

If approved, the levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $206 a year.

This was the second of at least five planned meetings organized by the district.

The superintendent said the plan to close Heritage and shift to banded schools is intended to maximize class sizes and would not benefit students educationally.

Knight explained that the district’s newest elementary schools — Eliza Northop and Ralph E. Waite —opened when district elementary schools had an average class size of 22.

Now he said, “we have six, maybe seven elementary class sizes with 33 kids across the district. Some are still 24.”

Since voters have not approved new operating money since 2005, the district has increased class sizes and cut programs and staff over the past four years, Knight said.

The plan to shift to the banded elementary school concept will save the district $605,000, Knight said.

“Our biggest savings will come from cutting approximately 14 teachers,” he said.

If the levy is approved, though, the district would keep neighborhood elementary schools, add reading, gifted intervention and guidance counselors at the elementary level, as well as more art, music and gym classes. There would be more opportunities for high school electives, and the levy would bring back busing for all students who live a mile or more from their school.

One parent asked: “Five years down the road, is Heritage still going to be on the chopping block?”

Knight said he was unable to predict the future.

“The task at hand is really this November,” he said. He added that asking for local support is “how we fund schools in the state of Ohio.”

Knight also shared a levy-themed PowerPoint presentation, which is available on the district’s website at www.medinabees.org.

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

  • lookingallaroundme

    This has always baffled me. A school needs to make cuts so all the administration huddles up and decides who gets fired. is it any wonder that administrators never get cut?

  • Wake up Medina

    Let the dog and pony show begin!!! There was no mention of another levy being on the ballot in two years, if this levy passes. If this levy passes AND the future levy fails, then all of the added items will be taken back and Heritage will close, what a joke. Ask yourselves this question…why is Brunswick, a larger School District able to keep all services, while not having passed a levy since 2006, able to maintain an excellent WITH DISTINCTION rating, and have A’s and B’s on its report card from the state. Compare that District with Medina: no levy since 2005, cutting services, only excellent rating, F’s, D’s and C’s on its report card. The incompetent Knight, Robinson, Vlcek and Grenfeld need to resign now. If you want to save money by adding services and NOT affecting the students, privatize bussing (Euclid schools just did, and is saving over a million dollars a year) and kept all current bus drivers. Think outside the box…it’s for the kids right. You four backwoods thinking fools need to go NOW. Hey Knight, let’s vote for this levy cuz your taxes won’t go up. You do not even live in the District. At least lived and paid taxes in this District he represented. Hey Board require Knight to reside in the District or he is out. Tell him to put his money where his mouth is. I am embarrassed to be a Medina Bee at this point and time. Knight, Robinson, Vlcek and Grenfeld are more concerned about their own egos and image than for the students and taxpayers of this District. Nice job, all of you!

  • SI

    Make an INTERIM superintendent move into the district? Are you kidding me? Why does one have to live in the district in order to know what is best for it? Wake up Medina = how about you wake up.

  • Concerned

    Lots of good points. Our son went through a “Banded” school district when we lived in another community in Ohio. It was a disaster from every angle- especially for the younger K-3 kids. They never got settled in – Its just seemed like it ways always chaotic and his early education suffered because of it. Banding is just the Easy Way Out for the Administration – of course look who is making the calls. nKnight is a nice guy, but lets fact it folks, he’s behind the times and way out of his league ( and living in the district really doesn’t matter and shouldn’t be an issue ). He was educated “old school” and thinks “old School” and that just isn’t what we need to lead this district out of this mess. It doesn’t help that the ‘old’ board members are still fumbling around with these decisions either. We really do need this levy, but with everything that has gone on this year with Stepp; the fact the “old” won’t leave, and now Knight with his out-of-date leadership, I think that passing the levy is doomed. nSomehow, and I wish I had the answer,. Stepp mess has to be settled( and Stepp off the payroll), a Community Search committee needs to find a new, younger, fresh thinking Superintendent and we have to move forward. And one last thought – If the Levy does pass it worries me and a lot of folks that this group of losers will think that it is a show of support for them and try to take us down the same old paths with new levy monies.

  • Michele Segedi Hjort

    You talk the talk,but as usual there’s no real names as to who’s posting. What are all of you afraid of!! At least you know who is speaking about what and why. nBy the way Brunswick sucks. They pass kids with D’s and F’s and say it’s the high schools problem. My older children went there when we lived in Brunswick for awhile.I asked for help repeatedly so my son could either repeat or be on some IEP to help him. Mind you this was from the 5th grade till 9th grade. Edwards Principal told me it’s the high schools problem not his and refused to let him repeat as did the elementary (Applewood). Brunswick people have money at let those with moey go on threw the schools. If you are low income or don’t live in the right neighborhood (same for Medina in this area) you are ignored.nIt took until my son’s senior yr here in Medina for them (Medina to finally realize that he wouldn’t pass and need the IEP and he had a learning disability.nYou want embarrassment you should look to all the school systems and how they are ran. How are children are taught. What the schools lack,basic knowledge for children to live in the real world. Not knowing how to use simple things such as a phone book or dictionary. Using calculators in school( starting in elementary)most of these kids can’t do anything w/o using a computer device to solve it. Look to the future it’s all electronics,someday these systems will crash and where will the children of our future be then. None will know how to read and write or calculate anything because of the lack of any of these skills being taught. when I speak of school systems it is all over not just Medina County.nnLet the levy fail and our schools as will all eventually will become under the states rules and what they want. At lease Mr. Knight is still fighting for our schools to prevent this eventuality. The government is taking over everything else why not let them take our schools,right to health care,tell us what to eat,where to live,even who to talk to, big brother is always watching. Go ahead let them win. If you want to make a difference choose to better ourselves in the big picture keep our rights to help better our school. It takes baby steps to move forward. The government will take larger steps to take it away,we need to fight back to keep control of our future and the future of our children!!

  • Michele Segedi Hjort

    If there are mistakes in spelling or grammar it’s because I am very upset that so many people can’t see the big picture, they only see the narrow view.

  • Michele Segedi Hjort

    The only losers I see our are children not know both the old school way and new ways. Being raised old school was the best time in my life. I would never go back to change it. Too much has been taken away from adult and teachers,because of the new ways. These teachers have been forced to try to teach so much new to the children in such a short time. That alot of children can’t keep up. New has it’s good points but, old school makes real sense!!

  • Michele Segedi Hjort

    Mr. Knight can handle (and has done so) old school and new times very well. Sometimes looking with a more experienced point a view you can communicate better with people.

  • Michele Segedi Hjort

    Administration does get cut,there are alot of people who have been gone for some time.

  • Educationbeginsathome

    So Michele Segedi Hjort, after doing some research on the Medina county auditor’s website, I cannot find you as being a homeowner, therefore, you are a RENTER. So, of course you would want this to pass because YOU WOULD NOT BE EFFECTED WITH RAISED TAXES. Would you like to explain yourself?

  • Fact Checker

    Fact Checker: Brunswick HAS passed levies, the last one was a 2 mil levy in March of 2012. Look it up. Every district is hurting because of state funds being taken away (some going to unsuccessful charter schools). Medina is hurting more because the community has not supported the schools.

  • By the way…

    Brunswick still has many of the services that Medina used to offer. Their community was willing to pay for it as they believe education is important.