Upper Arlington City Schools News Article

Board of Education Update — November 14, 2023 Regular Meeting

The November 14, 2023, meeting of the Board of Education included presentations on the following topics:

OSBA Capital Conference - Tuscarawas Valley 

Board of Education President Lori Trent opened the regular meeting with a moment of silence for the Tuscarawas Valley School District and the individuals affected by the tragic bus accident. 

Superintendent’s Update 

Superintendent Robert Hunt, Ph.D., acknowledged the Board of Education for participating in the Ohio School Boards Association conference, prior to its cancellation following the accident.

Student recognitions: Dr. Hunt introduced Upper Arlington High School Principal Andrew Theado to recognize students for their achievements.

  • Seventeen Upper Arlington High School students have been selected for the Ohio Music Education Association’s 2024 South-Central All-Region Orchestra. In addition, three of these students were selected among the best of the best in the state for the 2024 Ohio All-State Orchestra. 

  • The Upper Arlington High School girls water polo team won their fifth consecutive state championship last month - this year, at home in the UAHS natatorium. It is their 21st state championship overall - a state record.

District Highlights: Dr. Hunt shared the following district highlights.

  • Eighth grade students at Jones and Hastings middle schools enjoyed listening and learning from the experience of veterans - from World War II to service members currently serving our country today - for their annual Veterans Day celebrations, and the Wickliffe Progressive Elementary School community honored the veterans in their families and the community through their annual Veterans Day town hall meeting last Friday. 

  • Additional athletic highlights include: Senior Thomas M. finished his season fifth in the state at the OHSAA cross country championship meet; the girls tennis team is the state runner-up for 2023; and the boys golf team finished their season fourth in the state.

UAdventure: Dr. Hunt shared that he has wrapped up his school visits as part of his UAdventure series - with stops at Tremont, HS, Burbank and Barrington since the last Board of Education meeting - and is now shifting to focus on community engagement. He will be hosting a community town hall meeting on Wednesday, November 29 at 6 p.m. at Upper Arlington High School to share an overview of what he has learned from his UAdventure and how that will inform the district’s work going forward, particularly in the area of the upcoming strategic planning process.

Safety Week update: Dr. Hunt introduced Upper Arlington High School Principal Matthew R. Jordan to share about Safety Week, which he played an integral role in planning, in partnership with the City of Upper Arlington and UA safety officials. During Safety Week, the district shared proactive messages for families and students regarding safe travel to school, school safety and security, online safety and fire safety. Video messages for each day were prepared by UAHS production classes, and corresponding building announcements and resources for teachers were distributed. Buildings conducted school safety and fire drills during the week. 

Dr. Hunt thanked the city for their partnership and the students for bringing their creativity to Safety Week.

Teaching and Learning update

Chief Academic Officer Keith Pomeroy shared an update on the dyslexia legislation and what the district is doing in regard to requirements for teacher training, screenings for K-3 and newly enrolled students in grades 4-6, notification for parents and resulting interventions for students who flag on the required screenings. He shared that the district is pleased to be out in front of this, as it mirrors the work the district has been doing with the Science of Reading.

In addition, in the budget bill, there were changes to the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. This includes high-dosage tutoring (an additional 90 minutes of instructional time per week) for a student on a Reading Improvement and Monitoring Plan (RIMP). The RIMP must continue until the student is reading proficiently at their current grade level. 

Policies - second read

Deputy Superintendent Stephanie Siddens, Ph.D., shared that a number of policies are before the Board of Education for a second read and approval. A summary chart of the policies up for review and a document with the suggested edits are available in the Board of Education meeting agenda. Several changes are due to the budget bill or changes in federal law, and four policies were updated to provide clarity.

2023-2024 school year calendar update

Dr. Hunt shared that the agenda includes an updated school year calendar for Board approval that adds an early release for the solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, 2024. Dismissal will be 1 p.m. for elementary students, 1:30 p.m. for secondary students. 

The Board approved the 2023-2024 updated school year calendar as proposed. As a reminder, at the October meeting, the Board was informed that the school year calendar included the date update for the spring voting day, so there will be no school on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, due to primary voting.

Human Resources update

Chief Talent Officer Matt Jordan shared the following human resources updates. 

  • Upper Arlington Schools will host a “UA Open House” on November 29 for student teachers at UA and here in central Ohio. Sixty-four of the 66 screening interview time slots have already been filled.

  • A memorandum of agreement with the Upper Arlington Education Association (the teacher’s union) regarding the annual retirement or separation incentive is on the agenda for Board approval.

  • The district continues to recruit applicants for open transportation positions.

  • The district is in need of licensed intervention specialists to serve as substitutes.

Treasurer’s update

Treasurer/CFO Andrew Geistfeld shared monthly financial statements reflecting October 2023 and the November 2023 five year forecast, a legally required document that is presented to the board for approval and then filed with the state of Ohio. The five year forecast covers three years of actual financial data and five years of anticipated revenues and expenditures, and it is updated every May and November, providing the district with an important check-in point on potential future impacts and needs.

The five year forecast reflects key changes from the May 2023 update, including an approximate $2 million annual increase in state aid from the phasing in of the Fair School Funding Plan and an increase in investment income. As a result of the unexpected revenue increases, he recommended that the Board of Education consider replenishing the budget reserve to pre-COVID levels - 25%, or or three months’ worth of annual expenditures. The recommendation was supported by the community Financial Advisory Committee. Following a discussion, the Board of Education approved replenishing the budget reserve to 25%. 

The updated five year forecast will be filed with the state of Ohio and posted on the district website

You may visit our Upper Arlington Schools Board of Education page to access the November 14 meeting agenda and video recording. To view the meeting presentation, please click here. For meeting dates and more information about the Board of Education, please visit www.uaschools.org/board.

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