September 16, 2014

Medina
Mostly cloudy
63°F

Cloverleaf reaching out to new voters to pass May levy

WESTFIELD TWP. — The Cloverleaf Pride Committee is trying to reach new voters as they prepare for a May 6 levy attempt.

The levy is a combined 3.5-mill property tax and 0.75 percent earned income tax. The district has failed to pass a levy in its last four attempts, and in November, voters rejected a 10-year, 8.3-mill levy.

This time around, the campaign committee has a new strategy, said the Rev. David Rittgers, who is chairman of the Cloverleaf Pride Committee.

“We did have a lot of conversation on the committee about how to get the word out in the district and one of the pieces was how to connect with Cloverleaf graduates, recent graduates,” Rittgers said.

Rittgers said the campaign is using social media to appeal to younger voters.

The campaign committee has a new Facebook page and sent a mass text message to recent grads to remind them about the upcoming levy and to make sure they registered to vote.

“We wanted people to be involved in this election, so we were reminding them to get registered to vote ahead of the levy,” said Rittgers, who got the phone numbers from the school district.

Ohio law requires schools to respond to public records requests for student directory information unless a parent explicitly asks that the information be withheld.

“A student’s phone number is considered directory information,” Superintendent Daryl Kubilus said. “When the levy committee requested that, it was provided to them.”

The text message was sent to recent graduates earlier this month.

The message campaign upset one parent, Rebecca Clutter, who questioned whether parents were aware that student phone numbers were included in the directory information.

“I believe we need to be given the opportunity to opt out of those public disclosures,” she said.

Cloverleaf’s 2013-14 handbook given to parents doesn’t include phone numbers among the directory information items.

That omission, Clutter argued, means the school district is not complying with federal laws. She cited the Federal Family Educational Rights and Protections Act, which states:

“Schools may disclose, without consent, ‘directory’ information such as a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them.”

Kubilus agreed that telephone numbers should have been included among directory information listed in the student handbook and said the error would be corrected.

“I think our efforts to notify parents of their right to opt out have been inadequate,” he said. “We hope to improve our procedures in this area and we’ve already started.”

Kubilus said he would ask school board members to include the phone numbers in next year’s handbook.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.