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Union support sought for Medina Schools levy

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MEDINA — Superintendent Aaron Sable said Monday he met with the Medina City Teachers Association and asked for the union’s help in passing the district’s levy on the May 8 ballot.

“We thought it’s extremely important that our staff has a voice,” he said at Monday’s school board meeting. “It’s more important than my voice. These are the individuals who are working directly with the students.”

Passage of the 5.2-mill continuous substitute emergency levy would impact whether the district is able to implement its strategic plan, he said.

This levy will substitute the current 5.9-mill, five-year emergency levy that is set to expire Dec. 31. This substitute emergency levy will collect the same amount — $6.6 million — which means no new taxes for the community.

Sable said he spoke with the union about joining the administration in making a video for the public access channel. There also could be some door-to-door and phone calls to support the levy.

“They seem interested in getting involved in that,” the superintendent said. “They can continue to educate their own members on the parameters around the upcoming May levy.”

Many in the community are perplexed about the 5.2-mill levy, Sable said.

“Why are we calling it an emergency if it’s continuing?” Sable said residents have asked him.

“The answer to that is it’s not an emergency,” he said. “It’s a substitute emergency. It literally substitutes the emergency levy. I think it’s very confusing.

“We have no say in what the levy is called. The state determines what the name of the levy is. It’s a substitute because it’s for the same amount of the money that was in place.”

He said he has a good feeling moving forward with the levy.

“I’ll be honest, I have a lot of faith in our community and the direction we’re going to go,” Sable said.

Academy of Scholars

Just as the district’s athletes are recognized, Sable said he would like to see academic achievement applauded as well.

“We want to make sure that we’re really developing a strong focus on recognizing our students for their academic achievement,” he said.

“I want to make sure we have more public conversation about that. Yes, that athletic recognition is important, but our focus is the academics.”

Tina Cassidy, Medina Schools’ director of instruction, said there is already an awards night for seniors. They want to add a freshman, sophomore and junior recognition night for students with a 3.5 grade-point average to which students and parents would be invited.

She said Jeff Harrison, principal at Medina High School, is calling it the Academy of Scholars.

Students would be eligible for scholarship money from the Medina City Schools Foundation if they achieve the recognition for three years.

Just like athletes receive letters to wear on varsity jackets, academic scholars might also earn them.

Medina also might consider bringing back honor and merit rolls at the high school, which was dropped a few years ago.

“I see some form of those things coming down the road,” Sable said.

“We want to put together a coordinated program. They are coming.”

Credit card rebates

Business director Jon Burkhart said the school district plans to implement a rebate system through CPS Payment Services.

The district will pay many of its bills using a MasterCard, which will make it eligible to earn cash rebates at the end of the year.

“It’s using the district’s buying power to bring that back to the district,” Burkhart said.

CPS would be reimbursed through a 2 percent fee that credit card companies charge for using its service. Treasurer Dave Chambers said the district could earn as much as $60,000 a year.

Burkhart said the rebate program should be up and running in the next two months.

“It’s a win for the district,” Chambers said. “It’s bringing money back to our district.”

If a vendor doesn’t accept MasterCard, it would be paid by check, he said.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.



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