Distress panel tours East High, endorses renewal levy on ballot
By Denise Dick
The city schools Academic Distress Com- mission has endorsed the school district’s five-year, 10.4-mill renewal levy on the Nov. 6 ballot.
“It’s absolutely clear that the levy is needed,” said Adrienne O’Neill, commission chairwoman,
The commission endorsed the levy, which will continue to generate about $5.2 million annually, after hearing a presentation of an updated five-year forecast from Mark Paprocki, a fiscal consultant.
The commission appointed Paprocki of Canton to help in the city schools treasurer’s office until the school board selects a permanent treasurer.
Paprocki earns $60 per hour and is expected to work about three days per week.
Without renewal, the district is expected to go into deficit spending during the 2013-14 school year.
Lock Beachum Sr., school board president, said the commission’s endorsement is good news for the school district.
“I think it’s a positive step,” he said.
Thursday’s commission meeting was at East High School, and members toured the building and lunched with students before the meeting began.
“We noticed a huge difference,” O’Neill said. “One of the students said to me, ‘Who are you?’ I told her and she said, ‘Oh, you’re the reason for the harder work we’re doing,’ and I said, ‘Yes, I am.’’’
The commission also visited classrooms.
“The teachers are very focused and working hard and on grade-level, and the students noticed,” the chairwoman said.
Remedying a lack of on-grade-level instruction in some schools — when a teacher is instructing students in lessons or information intended for students in lower grades because those students haven’t learned or don’t know the material — is one of the issues the commission stressed in its updated academic recovery plan from earlier this year.
O’Neill has stressed that the way to improve student achievement in the district is to provide on-grade and above-grade-level instruction.
The commission also will update the Academic Recovery Plan, an annual requirement, in the next couple of months.