July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

Medina Schools: Programs, teachers to be restored

Medina school officials are moving to make good on their promise to restore cut programs and personnel after voters approved a 5.9-mill, five-year levy in November.

Interim Superintendent Dave Knight said at Monday’s school board work session that the district will restore nine programs and services and hire about 50 bus drivers, teachers and other staff.

“I look at this as a very important promise,” Knight said. “I want the community to have confidence in us that we’re spending the money as we said we would.”

The programs to be restored include reading intervention, gifted services at the elementary level, elementary-level music, art and physical education, and elective classes at the high and middle schools.

Knight also announced that busing would be restored for more than 2,800 students in all grades — kindergarten through high school — who live a mile or more
from the school they attend, as well as the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System and additional safety programs.

Knight said the cost of employing each teacher and counselor would be about $70,000 each for the first year, based on a district-wide average of teachers’ salary and benefits packages. That cost would increase each of the next five years as a result of contractual step increases in employees’ salaries. The starting salary for a new teacher in the Medina district is $39,137, according to the Medina City Teachers Association.

The cost of restoring bus service is about $910,000 for the first year and goes up each year to about $1.3 million in fiscal year 2019.

Board members Monday night also approved a contract with Apex Learning — the company that provides online education services that allow students who fail classes to make up the work.

The contract will cost Medina $17,500 this year for 100 spots in its online programs.

Officials said the school district will recover some of those costs through academic fees.

“We do get some of this back from parents who pay fees when students fail classes, but I don’t know what that percentage is that we get back,” board member Doug Adamczyk said.

The school board continues to search for a treasurer.

Board President Tom Cahalan said the board has received about a dozen applications and conducted interviews with five applicants. They went into executive session Monday, partially to conduct second interviews with some of those candidates.

Cliff Reinhardt has been serving as interim treasurer for about two weeks while the search is on.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.