July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

Medina Schools: Levy boosters to showcase candidates

The Medina teachers union and the school levy campaign are teaming up to host a school board candidates forum.

Brigid Turrittin, co-chairwoman of Kids First Medina, the school levy campaign organization, said she’d heard from a lot of people asking if the group would put on a forum.

“The levy does have to do with who’s on the board, whether we want it or not,” she said.

Six people are running for three open school board seats — board members Douglas Adamczyk and Tom Cahalan, who were appointed this year, along with Eric Carpenter, Angie Kovacs, Ronald Ross and Robert Skidmore.

Turrittin said the event will “give the community a chance to ask the board candidates questions and see how they will answer.”

The candidates’ forum will be moderated by Tim Turrittin, Kids First co-chairman, and Scott Quade, Medina High School language arts teacher and debate team coach.

Quade said there will be two open mics set up for people to ask questions.

“The questions themselves will all come from the audience; they will not be filtered in any way,” he said.

He encouraged audience members to come prepared with questions, not opinions.

“Every candidate will be allowed to answer every question,” Quade said. “I believe we decided on a minute response time per candidate and per question.”

The three elected board members will be tasked with finding replacements for board President Karla Robinson and member Susan Vlcek, who announced their plans to resign from the board last week. Vlcek will resign in May and Robinson will resign in January.

Both board members have faced repeated calls from residents to resign following a backlash after the board approved a new contract for Superintendent Randy Stepp in January that included an $83,000 signing bonus. After the end of this school year, none of the members who approved the contract will remain on the board.

The new board must also deal with the results of November’s levy vote. If approved, the five-year, 5.9-mill levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $206 a year.

If the levy fails, the school administration has announced plans to close Heritage Elementary School and group two grade levels at each elementary building in the 2014-15 school year. If voters approve the levy, the district will bring back some programs that have been cut over the past few years, such as reading and gifted intervention at the elementary level and busing to within a mile for all students.

The forum will be 7 p.m. Sept. 30 in Medina High School’s middle stage auditorium.

The forum follows a free spaghetti dinner for seniors older than 55, also sponsored by Kids First Medina. The dinner will be 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the high school’s main cafeteria. At the dinner, interim Superintendent Dave Knight, Kids First and school district officials will answer questions about the levy on the Nov. 5 ballot.

The dinner is $5 at the door for those younger than 55 and accompanying a senior. To RSVP, call (330) 721-2903 or email kidsfirstmedina@gmail.com by Wednesday. Parking is available at the Medina Performing Arts Center (access off of Weymouth Road).

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