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Lorain Schools: teachers union, CEO approved calendars don't align

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A copy of Jay Pickering’s comparison of the calendars is attached below the story.

LORAIN — The district’s calendar for next year does not match what was approved by the teachers union, according to claims made at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Jay Pickering, Lorain Education Association president, said the calendar released on the district’s social media March 7 was not approved by the district’s teachers. He compared it to the calendars for the previous year, this year, and next year. For the 2017-18 school year, the Board of Education-approved calendar — which the teachers agreed to — allowed for 175 days of instruction, two parent-teacher conference days, two teachers-records days and five professional-development days. This year’s calendar, approved by CEO David Hardy and agreed to by staff, allowed for 169 instruction days, two parent-teacher conference days, one teachers-records day and 12 total professional-development days.

For the 2019-20 calendar, he said the CEO’s calendar allowed for 168 instruction days, two parent-teacher conference days, one teachers-records day and 13 professional-development days. The union-approved calendar allowed for 177 instruction days, two parent-teacher conference days, one teachers-records day and four professional-development days.

The CEO-approved calendar has students starting on Aug. 21 and staff professional development Aug. 12 to 20. From there, students would be out of school for professional development or conferences Oct. 8 and 11, Nov. 5 and 27, Jan. 2, 3 and 6, Feb. 11 and March 10. Students get out May 20, and staff the 21st.

The LEA-approved calendar has students starting Aug. 28 and staff professional development Aug. 26 and in-room preparation the Aug. 27. From there, students would be off for professional development or conferences Oct. 11, Nov. 27, Jan. 2, 3 and 17. Students’ last day would be June 4; teachers would get out June 5.

He also brought into question concerns at the preschool level. He said according preschool administration for the district, preschool needs 168.5 days of instruction. The district has three snow days on its books, leaving only 166 days of instruction for those students, who are in the process of making up their lost two-and-a-half days. For next school year, the CEO-approved calendar does not have enough scheduled days for the preschool, coming up short of the minimum by a half-day.

According to the Ohio Department of Education’s website, under House Bill 59, preschool or day care providers participating in the Early Childhood Education program are required to meet at least 12.5 hours per week, equivalent to part-time kindergarten or 455 hours per year.

Pickering was unsure of what would happen if minimum hours were not met, but suspected the district could lose its five-star rating for its preschool programs.

He said in the years he’s been with the district, he can’t recall a major issue the LEA has had with the district calendar, and believed they had always been approved.

After public discussion on whether the board should put the renewal levy on the November ballot, School Board President Mark Ballard asked treasurer Josh Hill for an update on the district’s reimbursement from the state for CEO David Hardy’s salary and benefits. Hill has yet to receive reimbursement for this year’s costs — the state owes the district roughly $180,000.

In a statement released by the district when the issue first came up in February, Hill said the ditrict had not received reimbursement from the state for this fiscal year of July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019. The district was repaid for its costs last fiscal year, including the cost of the CEO search firm. Hill has been told by the state that the district would be made whole by the end of this fiscal year — receiving a lump sum rather than fronted payments.

There was some confusion as to whether or not Hardy is an employee of the district or the state. His W-2, according to Hill, lists him as a Lorain Schools employee, but under House Bill 70 he serves at the pleasure of the Academic Distress Commission.

School Board Vice President Tony Dimacchia asked if the district could stop payment on the CEO’s salary, because the original Memorandum of Agreement with the state isn’t being followed since the state has defaulted on its reimbursements for the district. Hill said the district’s contracted law firm is aware of the default from the state, and that he would stop payment if it was illegal for him to continue to do so.

Contact Carissa Woytach at 329-7245 or cwoytach@chroniclet.com.



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