A thank-you … and a construction update

Cloverleaf Community Newsletter Winter 2023

I am extremely grateful that our Cloverleaf community renewed its commitment to our school district by approving our 10-year, 4.2-mill fixed-dollar renewal levy this past November. As promised, the Cloverleaf Board of Education certified a 0.25% reduction of our district’s earned income tax as a result of this levy’s passage. Savings to our taxpayers with this earned income tax reduction began Jan. 1!

Since our community survey in 2019, our plan has been first to construct the new 9-12-grade high school and then add the 6-8-grade portion of the building when financing becomes available two years later. With news about a sooner-than-anticipated disbursement from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission for our construction project, we have a great window of opportunity to complete the 6-8 portion of the building now. As a result, the Cloverleaf Board of Education passed a resolution at its August 2022 meeting to begin the formal design and construction of the 6-8 grade addition to the new high school project. With the addition of the 6-8 portion of the building, it is necessary to change the move-in date from September 2023 to August 2024.  

Although I know the change in the construction schedule is disappointing to some, most have agreed a one-year delay will be well worth the inconvenience as we are able to move grades 6-12 into a brand new building instead of moving our middle school students to the current high school for two years before moving again. This revised plan means our Cloverleaf students in grades preschool through 12 will be educated in new/relatively new facilities for the first time in the 62-year history of our school district. Again, all of this construction, including our newly renovated athletic facilities, is being funded without a taxpayer-financed bond issue.  

It’s a great day to be a Colt!

Athletics are a source of pride – and lifelong lessons

Cloverleaf Community Newsletter Summer 2022

The lessons of interscholastic athletics go well beyond wins and losses on the playing field.  Commitment, character-building, perseverance, synergies of working on a successful team, learning to accept failure, the value of hard work, etc., are all traits our students learn when they participate in school-based athletics. Our students continue working hard to expand the rich athletic tradition of our Cloverleaf High School teams.

In the history of our Cloverleaf Local Schools, we have belonged to six athletic conferences:

1960-62: Medina County League (all sports except football)
1963-76: Chippewa Conference
1977-97: Pioneer Conference
1997-2015: Suburban League
2015-20: Portage Trail Conference Metro Division
2020-present: Metro Athletic Conference

To be a conference champion means your athletic team finished in first place versus all conference teams in your league. From 1960 to 2020, I’m proud to say our school district won 51 conference championships. Since 2020, Cloverleaf has won 12 conference championships – six of those championships were in this 2021-22 school year! Those six conference championships are double the most conference championships our students have ever won in a single school year. Congratulations to our student athletes for an incredibly successful school year!

Our athletic teams have brought considerable recognition and pride to our school district over the last 62 years. Every year, athletic conferences award “All-League” titles to the schools that demonstrate the highest level of combined performance in all sports. Last year, Cloverleaf won the first “All-League” title in our district’s history. This year, our students won their second-consecutive “All-League” title.

Athletics are a great source of pride in any school district. Our attendance at athletic contests shows our commitment to our students and their activities. Beginning next year, the Cloverleaf Board of Education is making Cloverleaf regular season home athletic contests free for all students who first register through the district’s ticketing system. Additionally, all active or retired military with a military I.D. card, as well as all residents age 60-plus, can enjoy our home Cloverleaf athletic contests free of charge. You don’t have to have a child/grandchild to attend a Cloverleaf athletic event. Everyone in our community is welcomed to join in the excitement of Cloverleaf athletics!

We look forward to seeing you at a Cloverleaf sporting event in the 2022-23 school year.  Please check the district’s website for updated schedules.

Until next time… Go Colts!

With renewals, financial future remains strong

Cloverleaf Community Newsletter Spring 2022

One of the challenges of school funding in Ohio is that districts continuously have to go back to voters for levy renewals in order to maintain their existing level of funding – all while the costs of products and services needed to educate kids continues to rise.

An example is Cloverleaf’s $2.8 million emergency operating levy, last renewed in 2013. It is a fixed-sum levy, which means the amount it generates does not go up as property values rise. This levy, which comprises nearly 9 percent of Cloverleaf’s budget, expires at the end of 2023 if it is not renewed.

Another example is the combination levy approved by voters in 2014. This is the levy that got Cloverleaf out of Fiscal Emergency! It consists of a property tax that generates $1.6 million per year combined with a 0.75 percent earned income tax. (An earned income tax applies only to those currently earning a wage. It does not apply to pension, rental or investment income.) At the time of its passage, we promised Cloverleaf taxpayers we would not go on the ballot for additional operating revenue until at least 2020. We are on track to extend that promise to 2027 or beyond! However, the 2014 levy that enabled us to make this promise expires at the end of 2024 if it is not renewed.

In 2020, our taxpayers graciously renewed Cloverleaf’s 2-mill permanent improvement levy. At 2 mills, that levy would have generated more $1.3 million per year for items such as buses, computers, books, etc. (PI funds cannot be used for operational expenses.) However, we made a commitment to taxpayers that Cloverleaf would not collect more for this levy in 2020 than when it was last renewed in 2015. To that end, the board of education approved a resolution to REDUCE collection to 1.39 mills for residential property owners – something rarely, if ever, seen in Ohio school districts. This saved residents more than 0.6 mills on a 2-mill levy.

To summarize: For Cloverleaf just to keep the funding it currently has, we need to ask voters to:

  • Renew a property tax levy that expires in 2023
  • Renew a combination property/earned income tax levy that expires in 2024
  • Renew a permanent improvement levy that expires in 2025

Of course, we know NEXUS also generates revenue for our school district. However, NEXUS is appealing more than 60 percent of the pipeline’s taxable value. As of this writing, the case is before the State Board of Tax Appeals. A reasonable question is: What will Cloverleaf do once the NEXUS appeal is settled?

The non-appealed revenue the district is receiving from NEXUS is financing the new Cloverleaf High School project. Considering the first-level appeal resulted in a 0 percent reduction of the pipeline value, we are cautiously optimistic about a favorable outcome. Once the appeal is settled, it is our intention to fund the next phase of the project, which includes the addition of a middle school wing to the new building; demolition of the current high school; and construction of new baseball, maintenance and administrative facilities.

Depending on the final NEXUS settlement, it is possible there will be additional funding available beyond what is dedicated to construction projects. At that time, it will be my recommendation to the board to potentially delay asking taxpayers for the additional operational funding that likely will be needed in the 2027-28 time frame. It may even be possible to consider reducing or removing one or more operating levies so we can continue offering a great education at the lowest cost to our taxpayers. Stay tuned!

Until next time … Go Colts!

The story of Cloverleaf Schools keeps getting better

Cloverleaf Community Newsletter Winter 2022

Friday, Jan. 13, 2012, was my all-time favorite day as the Cloverleaf superintendent.

To understand that day, you really need perspective: Our district was only three days shy of the state’s declaration of Fiscal Emergency due to our inability to pay our bills by the end of the school year. Although school wasn’t scheduled on Jan. 13, there was a snowstorm that certainly would have led to a cancellation on that day. Yet, we needed to accomplish something monumental in order to be ready for school the following week. What was it that needed accomplished? We needed to move the contents of three elementary school buildings with a combined age of more than 300 years to the brand new Cloverleaf Elementary School!

Due to our finances, we couldn’t afford professional movers. Instead, we rented several moving trucks, asked our bus drivers to drive them, and asked our community to come out and help us physically move all the contents out of three buildings in just one day. Numerous moms, dads and other Cloverleaf community supporters took a day off work to help us. We formed human chains to move boxes as efficiently as possible. PTO moms cooked lunch and made hot chocolate for everyone. By the end of the day we were all completely exhausted, but took great pride in, and had tremendous excitement for, the youngest students of our school district who would have a brand new school building with state-of-the-art design and technology (and air conditioning!) to call their own.

In a former school district, I had witnessed firsthand the positive effect of new school construction not just on students, but on the collective esteem of an entire community. I knew the same would happen at Cloverleaf — and it did. All of this enthusiasm was tempered by the cloud of Fiscal Emergency awaiting us after achieving the highest report card rating possible at the time — Excellent with Distinction. In fact, we were the first and only school district with the dubious distinction of being placed in Fiscal Emergency and simultaneously being named Excellent with Distinction.

Of course, the Cloverleaf community later approved a critical levy that led us out of Fiscal Emergency in 2014. We promised we wouldn’t go back to voters for new money until at least 2020. As I write this column in December of 2021, I am happy to report our current five-year financial forecast states we will be able to extend that promise of not asking for new levy money from our taxpayers for at least the next five years!

Today, 10 years after the grand opening of Cloverleaf Elementary School, we are embracing a new construction project — the largest in our district’s 60-year history. If you haven’t been to our campus recently, a lot has changed. We just finished the third and final phase of our Gene Clark Stadium renovation project. It started with visitor bleachers, then home bleachers, and now a new concession/restroom area complete with a grand entrance, a new track with two additional lanes for eight total lanes, new field turf, new fencing, and a new sense of community pride and spirit for our student athletes and band members.

If you look behind our middle school today, you can see the groundwork has already begun on construction of our new $40 million Cloverleaf High School, scheduled to open in September 2023. When completed, this school will feature a state-of-the-art 650-seat auditorium, a competition gymnasium, an auxiliary gymnasium, modern classrooms with an appropriate amount of space, a modern cafeteria configuration complemented by our outstanding food service program, a courtyard, and many other educational amenities worthy of our 21st-century students.

After the high school is completed, our middle school students will transfer to the current high school building as they await the middle school portion of the new high school building to be constructed in two to five years (depending on financing timelines for the NEXUS pipeline that are outside our control). Once our middle school students move into their new facilities attached to the new high school, the current high school building will be removed and a new high school baseball field will go in its place.

Additionally, at the same time as the new high school construction, we will be constructing an 8,000-plus square-foot addition to our now decade-old Cloverleaf Elementary School. The addition was part of the plan when the building was constructed and will be ready for students in early 2023.

Once complete, all our students PK-12 will receive their education in brand new or relatively new school buildings and have the benefit of a newly renovated athletic stadium. Additionally, all the funding for the district’s construction/renovations will have been completed without one dollar coming from a taxpayer bond issue!

The story of Cloverleaf Local Schools keeps getting better. I am excited about a new “favorite day” awaiting our students, our staff, and our entire Cloverleaf community in the not-too-distant future. I am thrilled about what lies ahead for the kids of this great school district ,as well as this wonderful community I am so proud to serve!

Until next time … Go Colts!

Proud of our students, teachers and parent heroes

April 13, 2020 
As you are reading this column, it has been five weeks since we have had students in our schools! Having taken online graduate courses myself, I have firsthand experience with online instruction. What I haven’t experienced is a course that started in a traditional in-person setting and transitioned to an online setting at the midway point. I am so proud of our teachers for the resilience they have shown to make such an instructional change during this pandemic. They have done an outstanding job adapting and continuously calibrating their instruction to meet the needs of our students. Our students have done an exemplary job adapting to their new learning environment. Our parents are heroes for helping facilitate the learning of their children during this unprecedented time.

Please remember that during these tough economic times, our school district is a source to keep our students fed as well. Every Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. during the school building closure, we are providing free food to any of our students who need it -- five breakfasts and five lunches. Even if you didn’t need it before now, this service is open to all our Cloverleaf students, regardless of whether they are on a free/reduced lunch plan or not. All we need to know is how many students are in your family.

Students, I know this has been especially hard on you as your daily routines have been altered beyond what you could have imagined. Please, please, please listen to the guidance of our governor’s office and the Medina County Health Department in maintaining social distance and wearing a mask in situations where social distance can’t be achieved. As the weather gets nicer, I know the temptation is to hang out with your friends, but now is not that time. Our county has done a very good job of “flattening the curve,” but we cannot stop now. We all need to do our part to keep everyone safe. 

I can’t wait to see you again -- but I will! 

Until next time … Go Colts!

HB 197 extends absentee voting to April 28

April 4, 2020 


I hope this column finds everyone and their families staying safe as we all do our part to comply with the Ohio Department of Health’s recent “Stay at Home” order. We at Cloverleaf are focused on educating and feeding our kids right now and I am pleased at the progress we have made in those areas. The response from our staff, students and parents has been terrific.

The day before the original March 17 primary date, a reporter asked if I was concerned about our permanent improvement levy renewal due to the uncertainties of the election at that time. My answer was that I hadn’t given it much thought since we were in crisis-mode here at the schools. At the time, preserving the rights of everyone to exercise their constitutional right to vote in the midst of this pandemic was a greater concern. Thankfully, our state legislators have devised a way for all of us to exercise that right through the recently signed Ohio House Bill 197.   

If you haven’t already voted, you can simply request an absentee ballot through the Medina County Board of Elections or can get one at https://www.ohiosos.gov/publications/#abr.  Although the primary election date has been extended to April 28, your ballot must be postmarked no later than April 27. (The only in-person voting will be at county boards of election early vote centers on April 28 for those with disabilities requiring it or those with no home mailing address.)

We will get through this crisis -- together!

Until next time … Go Colts!

Introducing Cloverleaf Checkbook

March 7, 2020 
Since our days of “fiscal emergency” from 2012 to 2015, fiscal transparency was and continues to be a goal of our school district. One of the newest ways we are increasing that transparency is through our Cloverleaf Checkbook initiative. The Cloverleaf Checkbook was created by a desire of our Board of Education to be transparent, yet give more context to expenditures than does the state’s Ohio Checkbook. Through many months of exploration and conversation, the Cloverleaf Checkbook was created.

Through the Cloverleaf Checkbook, our residents have the ability to see how our school district is spending its money. At the most basic level, you can view vendors, fund titles, account titles, detailed transaction descriptions and, of course, transaction amounts.

The checkbook will be updated monthly after the board approves its transactions at its monthly board meetings. Click HERE to find it on our website. Or, you can just look for the Treasurer’s link under the About Us tab on the Cloverleaf home page.

Until next time … Go Colts!

Cost of PI levy is less today than in 2016

Feb. 15, 2020 
This column is the last in a five-part series devoted to our upcoming 2-mill Permanent Improvement (PI) renewal levy on the ballot March 17. This article’s focus is on the taxpayer cost of the levy.
The usual messaging of a renewal levy is that your vote to renew is a vote to keep your taxes the same -- no more, no less. However, this renewal levy is unique!  
Since 1985, this levy has been renewed every five years at 2 mills. When this levy last passed in 2015, it generated about $980,000 per year for our school district. When the county auditor certified the levy for the 2020 ballot, we learned the same 2 mills would generate $1.2 million. The primary reason for this larger revenue number is the increase in our district’s property valuation due to NEXUS.
We as a district have planned our PI capital expenditures on a five-year cycle based on $980,000 per year, not $1.2 million. As a result, the Cloverleaf Board of Education passed a resolution at its January meeting only to collect $980,000 each year of the levy, should it pass. That means our residents will pay less for this levy in 2021 than they did in 2016.
Of course, the natural question is: “How much less?” That answer is not simple. NEXUS has appealed more than 50 percent of the pipeline’s valuation to the Ohio Department of Taxation.  Since we don’t know how much, if any, valuation change will occur on the pipeline, the auditor is unable to make a determination of how many mills will be charged next year to equal $980,000. What I can tell you with certainty is that it will be less than the 2-mill amount that will appear in the March 17 ballot language.
On another note, our “This Crowd is Cloverleaf Proud” spirit signs were well-received when we released them in 2014 and can still be seen in many yards across our 119 square miles. We have a new Cloverleaf spirit message -- “10 Communities, 1 Family, Cloverleaf” -- that will be unveiled this Saturday, Feb. 15. If you would like one of these new Cloverleaf spirit signs for your yard, stop by our elementary school parking lot on Saturday anytime between 9 a.m. and noon to pick one up. You won’t even need to leave your car!
Until Next Time … Go Colts!

Safety and Security is Cloverleaf's #1 priority

Feb. 8, 2020
Today’s column is the fourth in a five-part series of articles about our upcoming 2-mill Permanent Improvement (PI) renewal levy on the March 17 ballot. This week’s focus is on student and staff safety.

Student and staff safety is our #1 priority at Cloverleaf. We utilize proceeds from our PI levy to enhance the safety of our school
campus. If you’ve visited our schools in the last two years, the most visible of these safety enhancements are the secure entrances at our middle school and high school. These buildings were not designed with a security focus. In the former entrances, anybody could enter the school through the front doors without first signing-in with office personnel. Now, we have entrances that filter all visitors through our offices, enhanced by automatic locks on all outside doors.

Unlike the middle and high schools, our eight-year-old elementary school was built with a security focus. However, the video surveillance systems that were state-of-the-art in 2012 have already been replaced so that we are able to provide as secure of an educational environment as technology will permit us. These upgrades were purchased with proceeds from our PI levy.

Next week, for the fifth and final column of this series, I’m going to tell you about a recent decision by our Cloverleaf Board of Education that is going to make this PI levy cost our property owners less in 2021 than it did in 2016!

Until next time … Go Colts!

PI funds provide access to technology

Feb. 1, 2020 
As you know by now, Cloverleaf is on the ballot on March 17 to renew its 2-mill Permanent Improvement (PI) levy. Today is the third of a five-part series of articles about how we utilize the annual revenue we receive from the PI fund.  

Can you imagine a world today where children don’t learn how to utilize a computer until third grade? When I first came to Cloverleaf in 2008, our students at the former Lodi Primary School had no access to computers in grades PK-2. Thankfully, that is not the case at Cloverleaf today. Unlike when many of us adults attended school, computers are an absolute necessity to prepare our children for the world in which they are going to live and thrive in the 21st century.  We have adapted to this changing world of technology utilizing proceeds from our PI levy.

Today’s computers have a five-year life expectancy in a school environment. Evolving  technologies as well as the cost/benefit of maintenance on aging computers contribute to this computer life expectancy. We maintain a 2:1 ratio of students to computers in grades K-7 through our PI fund. We have found this is a productive balance to give students meaningful access to technology in these grades.

The demands for computer access grow with age. As a result, every student in eighth grade is issued a Chromebook computer that they use for their school work through 12th grade -- the entire five-year life expectancy of the computer. We utilize our district’s PI fund to purchase these computers as well as for upgrading and maintaining our district’s wireless access points to keep our computers functioning at peak efficiency. 

Next week, I’m going to tell you about how the PI fund has provided for many of the safety enhancements/upgrades to our district’s buildings.

Until next time … Go Colts!

At $100k each, buses are a major expense for Cloverleaf

Jan. 25, 2020 
Today is the second of a five-part series of articles about our upcoming Permanent Improvement (PI) renewal levy. Last week, I shared that Cloverleaf is on the ballot to renew its 2-mill PI levy on March 17 -- our first time on the ballot for a renewal since 2015. This week I’m writing about the largest expenditure of our PI funds: transportation.

It is no secret that Cloverleaf is the largest geographical school district in Medina County. In our 119 square miles and with our fleet of more than 30 school buses, we transport about 1,500 students to and from school every day.  Additionally, our buses transport students all over Northeast Ohio for sports, Quiz Bowl, band, and other activities beyond the school day. Transportation is a major component of our school district’s operation.

School buses are a major expense! At $100,000 per bus, it is a large investment to maintain our fleet. Even with the tough Ohio winters, the average life expectancy of our school buses is 15 years. Therefore, we have established a purchasing rotation of two or three buses per year to maintain our fleet. This fleet transports our students more than 650,000 miles per year!

We have also utilized our PI funds to save money for the future in our transportation department. Recently, for the first time, we purchased our own fuel tanks. Instead of having to purchase fuel from gas stations, we will be able to fuel our buses at our Lodi bus garage. This will enable us to save about 34 cents per gallon. This 34 cents per gallon savings multiplied by the 90,000 gallons of fuel we purchase each year will equate to more than $30,000 in annual operational savings!  

Next week, I will tell you about how we utilize PI funds for technology.

Until next time … Go Colts!

PI levy renewal on the March ballot

Jan. 18, 2020
Cloverleaf is on the March 17 primary ballot for renewal of its 2-mill Permanent Improvement (PI) levy. This is our first time on the ballot since the renewal of this exact same levy in 2015. This levy can only be used for capital expenditures that have a life expectancy of five years or more. School buses, technology, building security infrastructure, and building maintenance/equipment are but a few examples of how we utilize the revenue from the PI levy. This levy cannot be used to pay staff salaries.

The PI levy has been passed every five years at Cloverleaf since 1985. I will be writing a series of columns about this levy – including more specifics about its use, as well as the reason this levy will ultimately cost our taxpayers less than 2 mills in the future.

Until next time … Go Colts!

Community survey results are in

Dec. 14, 2019 
I previously reported through this column that the Cloverleaf Board of Education contracted with a survey company (Futuristics Inc., of Reading, Penn.) two years ago to conduct a community survey about how our residents desire us to utilize the new revenue from NEXUS. Although it was not feasible to survey all district residents, a random representative sample of community members from all 10 of our townships/villages was utilized to yield statistically significant results.  

When asked to determine the best method to utilize the NEXUS funding, respondents were given three options:

1. Use the revenue for funding a construction project. 
2. Use the revenue for district operations and pass a future bond issue for construction.
3. Make due with our current buildings and use the money for operations.  

The response with the highest percentage of votes was to use the money for a construction project.

When asked what the best construction option would be, respondents also were given three options, as determined by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission:

1. Renovate the high school and build a new middle school.  
2. Renovate the high school, use it as a middle school, and build a new high school.  
3. Do no construction.  

The response with the highest percentage of votes was the second choice: Renovate the high school to be used as a middle school and build a new high school.

With a construction project, Cloverleaf also will receive at least $24 million from the State of Ohio through the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. If we chose to do no construction, we would not receive this money.

For this column, I’m only able to give you a snapshot of the entire survey. If you would like to see the complete results, there’s a link posted on the Board of Education page of our website: www.cloverleaflocal.org. You can also find the survey at this link: https://www.cloverleaflocal.org/2019CommunitySurveyResults.aspx 

It should be noted that NEXUS recently filed an appeal of its public utility property tax valuations with the Ohio Department of Taxation. NEXUS is appealing 38.5 percent of the certified value assigned to the pipeline. Although discouraging, it is not surprising considering the certified rate was more than 30 percent higher than the original estimate.
Regardless, we are proceeding with our due-diligence in choosing an architectural and construction management firm over the coming months. It comes at no cost or commitment on the part of the district and is the first step in determining what a Cloverleaf construction-renovation project might look like. We will await the results of the NEXUS value appeal prior to committing to any final financial decisions.

Until next time …Go Colts!

Levy costs likely to be reduced, thanks to NEXUS

Nov. 9, 2019 
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that, according to Medina County Auditor Mike Kovack, it appears Cloverleaf's year-one proceeds from the NEXUS pipeline will be $7.4 million, not the $5.4 million that was originally forecast by Public Finance Resources Inc. more than three years ago. Having heard from several employees and community residents, there is some confusion associated with this particular sentence from Auditor Kovack that appeared in a recent press release:
"Between the reappraisal and the new NEXUS values, it is highly likely that we [the auditor's office] will be reducing at least the emergency levies for the Cloverleaf Local School District prior to next year's tax bills."
The auditor’s quote is correct. However, people have asked me if this means the pipeline money will merely take the place of levies that we currently have on the books.  The short answer is “no” due to emergency levies being fixed-sum levies. To better explain the context of his quote in terms of school funding, I will use an analogy:
You are having a cookout and decide to invite nine friends. While planning the cookout, you and your friends think it would be fun to hire a DJ at a price of $100. Since 10 of you are attending the cookout, there is an understanding that all 10 of you will chip in $10 each to pay for the DJ.  
$100 for the DJ  / 10 people = $10 each
A few weeks later, you and your friends are reminiscing about the great time you had and decide to plan another cookout with the same $100 DJ. This time, you want to invite two more friends to the cookout. Since 12 of you are now attending the cookout and the DJ still costs $100, each of you will now pay less per person for the DJ.
$100 for the DJ / 12 people = $8.33 each
In the example above, the original cookout guests are our taxpayers, the DJ is an emergency levy, and NEXUS represents the additional guests you want to invite to the second cookout. Since emergency levies are also known as "fixed dollar" levies, the amount of money the levy generates is "fixed" or stays the same as the day it is voted in. If an emergency levy generated $1 million in 1995, it also generates $1 million in 2019 -- even though there may have been fewer taxpayers (people at the cookout) in 1995 than there are today. As a result, more people are paying the cost of the emergency or "fixed dollar" levy today than in 1995. As suggested in the analogy, with more people invited to the cookout, each person pays slightly less for the DJ (emergency levy). 
When the auditor says, "… it is highly likely that we will be reducing at least the emergency levies for the Cloverleaf Local School District …,”  he means the auditor’s office will reduce the millage of emergency levies to account for the additional guests (NEXUS). How much less isn't determined until the auditor certifies the levies and lowers the millage that will be charged. Because of NEXUS, people at our cookout (Cloverleaf taxpayers), on average, will pay less for emergency levies!  
Now, the question on the hearts and minds of our Cloverleaf residents: “What will Cloverleaf do with this new revenue?” To that end, the board of education contracted with a company to survey a representative sampling of our district residents. (I have previously written about this.) Those survey results are now in. I will update you with those results after the board reviews them later this month.
Until next time … Go Colts!   

Recipients: Be Sure to Complete Community Survey

Oct. 12, 2019
Earlier this year, I wrote a column about how the Cloverleaf Board of Education has contracted with a research company, Futuristics Research Inc.,to develop a statistically significant survey sent to an equal proportion of random residents of each of our 10 townships/villages. This survey will help the school board understand the prevailing sentiment of our Cloverleaf community in how to utilize the upcoming proceeds from the Nexus pipeline. The final valuation of the pipeline that will determine our district’s exact financial proceeds will occur in November with the first revenue to be received in January 2020.

If you are one of the residents who has received the survey, please complete it no later than Oct. 17. It is important for Futuristics to receive as many of the surveys as possible so the results will effectively gauge the will of our community in utilizing the Nexus financial resources.  

Until next time ... Go Colts!

Important dates to remember

Aug. 17, 2019
Welcome to the 2019-20 school year! We are excited to welcome everyone back for another great school year here at Cloverleaf.  

Taking the lead from our highly successful “Freshmen First” Day at the high school, we are implementing a similar experience at our middle school, where sixth-graders will be the only students at the middle school building on the first day. This will give our sixth-graders an opportunity to acclimate to the culture and expectations of our middle school while getting to understand the layout of the school, its classrooms, lockers, gym, etc. It also gives our sixth-graders the chance to learn about the exciting opportunities that await them during their middle school years. This day is a result of the creative thinking and collaboration of our middle school teachers and administrators to ensure our sixth-grade students have a great start to their middle school careers.

Here are some important dates to remember as we get set to begin the 2019-20 school year:

Tuesday, Aug. 20: First day for grades 1-6,9, and students new to the district
Wednesday, Aug. 21: First day for grades 7-8 and 10-12
Friday, Aug. 23: First day for kindergarten
Monday, Aug. 26: First day for preschool 
Friday, Aug. 30:  First football game/band show at Cloverleaf

Until next time … Go Colts!

Vital work of drug prevention will continue

March 23, 2019 
By now, you may have heard it was determined the Medina County Drug Abuse Commission (MCDAC) has been funding agencies and services beyond the scope of the Ohio Revised Code provision cited in the original ballot issue placed before Medina County voters in 1987.  In essence, the money from the levy can be used to fund law enforcement components such as our D.A.R.E. program, but it can no longer be used to fund another vitally important component of our drug-prevention efforts -- prevention coordinators.

We have had two excellent prevention coordinators at Cloverleaf since well before my 11 years as superintendent. Their efforts in working with our students in drug/alcohol prevention, high-risk behaviors, student advocacy, educational programming, drug awareness student leadership groups, coordination with community agencies, among others, is invaluable to the health and well-being of our students. The need for the services our prevention coordinators provide our students has only increased in recent years with the steady rise of risk factors to which today’s students are continuously exposed from our society. 

In the 2019-20 school year, we were potentially going to receive $44,000 from MCDAC to offset a portion of the amount the district pays for its two prevention coordinators. Unfortunately, we will no longer be able to use MCDAC funds for our prevention coordinators from this point forward. However, the need for prevention services has not gone away. Please rest assured the valuable services offered by our prevention coordinators will continue regardless of whether or not the funding for the positions is part of a grant. The value brought from our prevention coordinators to the safety and general well-being of our students cannot be measured in dollars and cents.

Until next time … Go Colts!

Community survey in the works

Feb. 2, 2019 
Recently, I have received several inquiries about how Cloverleaf intends to use the revenue it is projected to receive from the Nexus pipeline and compressor station located in our school district. As you have likely heard by now, estimates show Cloverleaf receiving up to $25 million during the first five years of the taxable value of the pipeline.  

The Cloverleaf Board of Education has been discussing potential pipeline revenue for more than a year. A consistent theme of these conversations has been that the board is committed to understanding the sentiment of our Cloverleaf community on how it best desires the revenue be allocated. To that end, the district has contracted with a research company, Futuristics Research Inc., to develop a survey. The intent of the survey is to hear from a proportional number of district residents from each of the 10 townships and villages that form Cloverleaf. Although not everybody will receive the survey, it is our intent to hear from a statistically significant portion of our Cloverleaf residents before committing to any long-term financial plans with the pipeline revenue. Currently, the district is working with Futuristics on the survey design with a goal of mailing the survey to residents this spring.

Although the district will receive its first payment from Nexus in January 2020, the actual revenue amount Cloverleaf or any other entity receives won’t be verified until November 2019. Our goal as a district is to be ready with a plan in place prior to that official certification.

As we get closer to the survey implementation date, I look forward to sharing more information with you. 

Until next time … Go Colts!

New this year: 6th-Grade First Day

Aug. 18, 2018 
I would like to welcome our students and families back for the 2018-19 Cloverleaf school year. We have had a busy summer preparing for our students and are looking forward to seeing all our students back at school!   

I have written in the past about the great success of our Freshmen First Day, which we are continuing for our third year. This year, I’m excited to tell you that through the thoughtful planning of our middle school staff, we are now implementing our inaugural 6th-Grade First Day. Research and our own experiences have taught us the first day of middle school creates anxiety for our students. We are going to ease much of that anxiety by having a full day of middle school with only our 6th graders and new middle school students. The day is planned to show our 6th graders and new students the routines of the middle school, how teaming works, the expectations we have of our students, the opportunities for our students, as well as acclimating our students to the physical layout of the building. The goal is to enable our newest middle school students to “hit the ground running” on the first regular school day without worry or anxiety.

Here are some important beginning-of-the-year dates:

Monday, Aug. 20: First day of school for grades 1-6, 9, and new-to-district middle/high school students
Tuesday, Aug. 21: First day of school for grades 7-8, 10-12
Thursday, Aug. 23: First day of school for kindergarten
Monday, Aug. 27: First day of school for preschool 
Friday, Aug. 31: First Friday night home football game/band show

Welcome back!

Until next time … Go Colts!

New elementary school parking lot

July 21, 2018 
If you have driven in our elementary school parking lot in the last year or so, you’ve likely noticed the asphalt has not fared as well as we would have liked or expected for a 7-year-old lot. Thankfully, the prime contractor who originally subcontracted the lot in 2011 is standing by his work without the need for the district to pursue costly legal remedies. The result is we will have a fresh asphalt parking lot at the elementary school for the start of the 2018-19 school year. 

Although the full extent of the needed drainage and base layer repairs will not be known until the asphalt is removed, the district has agreed to pay $50,000 toward the repavement costs for the “useful life” it has received from the parking lot to date. This amount is estimated to be 20 to 25 percent of the cost of the work to redo the lot. The rest of the cost for completely redoing our elementary parking lot will be covered by the contractor. At the end of the day, we will get to “reset” the useful life of our elementary parking lot with a brand new one while only paying a fraction of its cost.   

Until next time … Go Colts!

Congratulations to the Class of 2018

May 19, 2018 
Congratulations to our Cloverleaf High School class of 2018 whose members will be “commencing” their lives after high school with Sunday’s graduation ceremony. 

Commencement is a time of sentimental reflection as you reminisce about all the firsts and lasts that have happened in the previous 13 years of your life preparing for this day ... your first day of kindergarten, your first time riding a school bus, your first pep assembly, your last football game, your last choir/band concert, or your last school dance. Commencement is also a time to reflect on all you have learned and on the numerous people who have invested so much in you during your education. Most importantly, commencement is about looking ahead to your future! 

Whether your next step is going to college or entering the workforce, your Cloverleaf education has gifted you with the preparation you need for the next chapter in your life. How you write that chapter is your gift back to the people who have invested so much of themselves in you.  

Congratulations to the class of 2018! It’s a great day to be a Colt!

Until next time … Go Colts!

School fees reduced for 2018-19

April 14, 2018
As a parent myself, I can attest to the overwhelming nature of new school year supply lists. Depending on the school district and specific classes, parents can spend hundreds of dollars on new school supplies every year.
As part of our school district strategic plan, a committee was formed to investigate school fees/school supplies here at Cloverleaf. Currently, elementary school fees are $40/student and parents have to purchase class supply list items. Middle school is $50/student with the same requirement to purchase class supplies. Although our high school students don’t have a per-student fee, each course a student enrolls in has a specific fee associated with the course that adds up to far more than the $40 or $50 fee paid by parents of younger students.
The strategic planning committee approached the school board with two possible recommendations for class fees. The board chose an option that will eliminate the need for parents to purchase individual school supplies for elementary/middle students and lower the average fees paid by high school students starting in the 2018-19 school year.
Elementary School -- Students will be charged the same $40 flat fee. However, all school supplies needed for instruction will be provided for students on their first day of class. Other than bookbags and incidentals, no shopping for crayons, markers, glue, or any other such supplies will need to happen.
Middle School -- Students will be charged a $40 flat fee (down from $50 this year). Like the elementary school, students will receive any needed school supplies the first day of class, minus a bookbag and incidentals.
High School -- Students will be charged a $60 flat fee, a $10 graduation fee, $15 consumable fee, and a $5 lock fee. Students no longer will be charged a fee for every class they take at the high school. In the past, these fees have ranged from $3 for Intro. to Journalism to $50 for team sports.
The hope for the board is that these lowered fees will make it easier on our parents by not expecting them to spend considerable amounts of time and money shopping for school supplies. Additionally, due to the buying power of the district purchasing the supplies in quantity, we will be able to purchase the necessary supplies for a considerably smaller price than parents. The new fee structure represents a projected $66,000 in additional costs to Cloverleaf, but the district feels it is a worthy expenditure on behalf of our students and parents.

We will share more information with you about this new school supply procedure in the upcoming months leading up to the 2018-19 school year.

Until next time … Go Colts!

Grateful for our local law enforcement

March 10, 2018

Since the tragic events in Parkland, Florida, and, most recently, at Jackson Middle School in Stark County, school districts and the communities they serve are having lots of conversations about the security of schools. One of those conversations is regarding law enforcement officers on school campuses. What you may not know is that we have a Medina County Sheriff’s deputy on our campus at all times. Given our campus setting here at Cloverleaf, we are grateful for the close proximity our deputy has to all three of our main campus buildings.

Aside from the Medina County Sheriff’s Department, we are blessed at Cloverleaf to have three police departments in our school district from Seville, Westfield Center and Lodi. In the last couple of weeks, we have been visited by all three of these departments. As they reminded me, our students are the same kids they see playing (or driving) in their neighborhoods on a daily basis.  They want to help our kids feel safe! 

To that end, our police departments desire to be a greater presence on our Cloverleaf campus, not just in the parking lots, but inside our buildings. This desire to help with the safety of our schools is not just for now, but also for the future. We welcome their presence with open arms!

We are very fortunate at Cloverleaf not only to have the support of four law enforcement departments, but to have four departments who are so heavily vested in the safety of our schools. It is a pleasure to work together with our law enforcement forces here at Cloverleaf to create the safest possible environment for our students and staff.

Until next time … Go Colts!

Cloverleaf will not need to make up calamity days

Feb. 17, 2018 

I don’t need to tell you it’s been another cold, snowy winter here in Northeast Ohio. Cloverleaf has had its fair share of canceled school days, due to either dangerous wind chill temperatures or hazardous roads.

Since we just had our sixth calamity day of the year two weeks ago, I’ve received some inquiries as to whether or not we will need to make up any school days at the end of the year. The short answer, I am happy to tell you, is no. Here’s how it works.

The district calendar traditionally included five potential school days at the end of the year to make up calamity days, if needed. Prior to the 2014-15 school year, districts had to make up instructional days after the fifth calamity day was used (except when the state granted waivers to this rule). However, Ohio changed from a minimum days requirement to a minimum hours requirement. The new minimum requirement is 910 hours of instruction for students in grades K-6 and 1,001 hours for students in grades 7-12.  

Cloverleaf is far above the minimum hour requirements for instructional time. This means the number of calamity days needed before making up days far exceeds the former five-day requirement. Although the district has the discretion to do so, it is not our intent to make up the most recent calamity day.

Additionally, you may not be aware our teachers came to work on the last snow day. Our contract with our local teachers union partners requires teachers to report after the fifth calamity day. This time is used for professional development and other related work.

Unlike many of our students, I’m hopeful we are finished with calamity days this school year. Although the weather may preclude students from attending school, the Cloverleaf buildings and grounds crew, custodians, bus mechanics, teachers, and administrators still will be here -- caring for our facilities, maintaining our buses, and working to help our students succeed.

Until next time … Go Colts!

Planning for the future

Feb. 10, 2018

Recently, there has been a lot of news about the potential revenue generated from the Nexus pipeline. Specifically, Public Finance Resources has estimated our school district could receive more than $25 million during the first five years of the pipeline. If the estimates are true, this revenue obviously would be of a tremendous benefit to our school district. Once revenue estimates and timelines are confirmed, our board of education plans to conduct a comprehensive community survey to determine the will of our Cloverleaf residents for the best ways to utilize the increased revenue. Such revenue has the potential to have a substantial impact on our long-term operations and facilities. We are doing our due-diligence to best understand the options that are available so we can eventually understand how you, our Cloverleaf constituents, feel about the best way to proceed in the upcoming years.

While navigating the potential revenue stream from the pipeline, I am also cognizant of the fact that many great Cloverleaf school supporters have both pro- and anti-pipeline sentiments. As enthusiastic as I may be about the potential of such a substantial revenue increase to our school district, I also understand many of our property owners are extremely concerned about the pipeline. I don’t believe it is my place to advocate for or against the pipeline. However, it is my responsibility to ensure we reflect the collective will of our residents in responsibly utilizing the revenue that could potentially be generated from the pipeline’s existence for the benefit of the students of Cloverleaf Local Schools.  

I look forward to communicating with you more once we have additional information. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we plan for the future of Cloverleaf. 

Until next time … Go Colts!

Community support in both sadness and celebration

Oct. 21, 2017 
As many of you know, we recently lost one of our own here at Cloverleaf with the passing of football and track coach John Sands. Coach Sands loved our student-athletes with whom he worked and had a passion for making a difference in their lives. Although not all our students and staff knew Coach Sands, his legacy of commitment and love for our students will live on in the hearts of everyone. Thank you to all of the fans who attended our Cloverleaf homecoming football game and showed your support as the team participated in a touching tribute to Coach Sands during pregame.
I would also like to thank our community for your support of our students and school district by attending the annual homecoming bonfire during our homecoming week celebration. The Wednesday evening bonfire was the biggest I have ever attended -- in size of attendance and bonfire! I would like to say a special thank you to Westfield Fire and Rescue for being on hand to ensure the safety of everyone during the celebration. Thank you also to student council advisor Molly Jarvis for the time and passion she has for our students and for Cloverleaf.
In sadness and celebration, I am continuously amazed at the beauty of the Cloverleaf community. Thank you for your support of our school district!
Until next time … Go Colts!

Committed to increased student learning

Sept. 23, 2017 
Last week, the Ohio Department of Education released school district report cards. One part of the report card I would like you to know more about is the “achievement indicators” section. This is a measurement of the percentage of students who receive a score of proficient or better in each of the state’s 23 tests.
Two years ago, our district received an “A” in the Achievement category. This year we received a “C,” but received an “F” in the “Indicators Met” subcategory, down from a “D” a year ago. Needless to say, an “F” is unacceptable. One might logically assume that going from a “D” to an “F” means the district is regressing academically. That could not be further from the truth! In fact, our school district improved in 15 of the 23 tested areas. Our district did better than the state average in all 23 tests by an average of 13 percent. With such improvement, how is it we could actually regress on the report card’s letter grade?
Once again, the reason is simple: The state raised its passage criteria. I have said before that all I ever desire of the state is to tell us the rules and we will play by them, but please stop changing the rules.
We will continue to constantly use data to inform our decision-making here at Cloverleaf. The changes we have implemented at all three buildings of our district through our strategic planning initiatives are showing measurable benefits to student learning. We are not finished! We will continue to improve. Our goal for state tests will always be 100 percent passage 100 percent of the time. Our pursuit of increased student learning will never cease.
Until next time … Go Colts!

Welcome to a new school year!

Aug. 19, 2017

Welcome to the 2017-18 school year! We have had a busy summer getting everything prepared for our students to have the best school year ever! I look forward to sharing great news about our schools and students through this column during the school year.

One of the many successes we had last year was our “Freshmen First” Day. During this day, only freshmen and new high school students attend school. The day is comprised of highly focused time when high school freshmen and new students spend one school day learning about the Cloverleaf High School culture, academic/behavior expectations, getting involved in their school, and understanding the physical layout of the facility including classrooms, lockers, gym, guidance area, media center, etc. The day is a great collaboration among many of our upper class students and teachers/administrators to ensure a smooth transition for our freshmen and new students.

Here are some important dates to remember as we get set to begin the 2017-18 school year.

Monday, Aug. 21: First day of school for grades 1-9 and new high school students

Tuesday, Aug. 22: First day of school for grades 10-12

Thursday, Aug. 24: First day of school for kindergarten

Friday, Aug. 25: First Friday night home football game/band show

Monday, Aug. 28: First day of school for preschool

Welcome back!

Until next time … Go Colts!

Class of 2017: The best is yet to come

May 20, 2017
Dear Class of 2017,
Congratulations as you officially become Cloverleaf graduates this Sunday afternoon. This weekend is a great time to reflect on your 13-year journey here at Cloverleaf. It’s also a great time to think of all the “firsts” you had as a student: Your first day of kindergarten, your first elementary school party, your first school dance, your first band concert, your first Friday night football game, or even your first tractor day! I hope you take some time to reflect on these great memories as you walk across the graduation stage and are rightfully celebrated for an achievement 13 years in the making.
Now, as a 46-year-old adult, I can tell you, with certainty, that the upcoming “firsts” in your life will be even more memorable than graduation. Your first job in your chosen career, your first child, your first house, your first baseball game as a parent, and even your first graduation ceremony of your child and grandchild.
Take the time this week to enjoy the memories of the past 13 years, but understand the best is yet to come! Don’t forget, to commence is to begin. Cloverleaf has given you the tools to succeed in this life. This Sunday begins the “first” day of your life as a high school graduate. Enjoy all the “firsts” you are about to experience. And remember this: You will always be a Cloverleaf Colt!
Congratulations, Class of 2017! It’s a great day to be a Colt!
Until next time … Go Colts!

Visit us at the job fair April 25

 April 15, 2017 
Are you or is someone you know looking for a job? Then please mark Tuesday, April 25, on your calendar to attend a local job fair at Lodi Library from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. This job fair is an opportunity for members of the Cloverleaf community to hear about some of the many job prospects in this area. The library is located at 635 Wooster St. in Lodi.
At least 14 different local companies, including Cloverleaf Local Schools, will be present with information about potential jobs available. Cloverleaf has job openings right now in our food service, transportation and custodial/maintenance departments. We would love to fill those positions with people from right here in our own community.
A big thank you goes out to sponsors Cooperative Community Services, United Way of Medina County and Ohio Means Jobs for creating this great opportunity. We look forward to seeing you at Lodi Library on the 25th!
Until next time … Go Colts! 

Steadfast in our commitment to voters

March 4, 2017 
Gov. John Kasich has introduced the state’s new biennium budget, which is currently under consideration in the Ohio House of Representatives as HB 49. Although the governor has stated that education spending is increasing by 1 percent statewide, our school district will not be seeing an increase. In fact, under the initial language of the bill, Cloverleaf will see a $445,414 decrease. That is nearly the equivalent of a 1-mill cut in state funding for our school district.
When we passed our last school levy for new revenue in May 2014, our board of education made a commitment not to go back on the ballot for new revenue until at least 2020. Even with the bad funding news from the state, I can attest that we at Cloverleaf remain steadfast in our commitment not to come back to you, our voters, until at least 2020 with any request for new revenue.
In the meantime, if you are as disappointed about this budget news as I am, I urge you to join me in contacting our legislators.
Until next time … Go Colts!

Bus drivers needed

Feb. 11, 2017 
If you are a Cloverleaf resident, you likely saw our signs last year advertising our need for school bus drivers. Thankfully, we were able to contract with some new drivers for this school year. We will be losing some great Cloverleaf bus drivers to retirement this year as well. As a result, we are anticipating openings in our bus driver ranks for next year and thereafter.
The first requirement to become a school bus driver is to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License or CDL. We have on-board school instructors (two of our own bus drivers) who will work with you on the driving part of your test to help you train for your CDL. After the CDL, you receive 15 additional hours of classroom instruction to learn to become a school bus driver, which culminates in a written and driving test to obtain a school bus driving certificate from the Ohio Department of Education. I am told the process to become a bus driver usually takes three to five months, depending on the skill of the applicant.
Most of our drivers begin as substitutes to gain experience. Some drivers only want to substitute. Once hired as a member of our Cloverleaf team, most drivers qualify for benefits as a result of the hours worked.
If you have ever considered driving a school bus or would just like to discuss the potential in greater detail, we would love to tell you more. Please contact our transportation director, John Ewart, at 330-302-0402 or [email protected] for information.
Until next time … Go Colts!

Cleveland Clinic Mobile Health Unit

Feb. 4, 2017
If you are a loyal reader of The Post, you have read by now that our school district is partnering with the Cleveland Clinic to bring pediatric health care services to preschool through 12th-grade students right here on our campus. The service is the Cleveland Clinic Mobile Health Unit. The mobile health unit is best described as a portable doctor’s office driven right here to Cloverleaf from the Clinic. The mobile health unit will be making its first visit to our campus on Feb. 7.
Parental consent is required for minor children to visit the mobile unit. Students can visit the unit during the school day after parents complete the required Cleveland Clinic paperwork. When accessing the service, students are considered patients of the Cleveland Clinic, which will either bill parent insurance or provide financial counseling to parents to help get their children qualified. Parents are welcome to accompany their child on his or her visit to the mobile unit.
The unit is designed to be visited for a variety of reasons including sick visits, well-visits, sports physicals and immunizations. This unit will not only help our parents with convenience, but it can help our students miss less school, leading to a better educational experience. One thing this unit is not intended to do is replace your child’s primary physician.
To begin, the mobile unit will be on our campus one time per month for the remainder of this school year. As this is the first such unit in Medina County, we will be working with the Clinic to determine future need and frequency after this school year.
Our parents will receive a letter introducing the service as well as providing application materials. I’m excited by the potential of this service as it contributes so positively to the health and wellness of our students.
Until next Time … Go Colts!

New rec center floor

Dec. 10, 2016 
I am delighted to share the news that the Cloverleaf Recreation Center now has new flooring on the four multipurpose courts that form the inside of the track. The initial reviews of the flooring from several members with whom I have spoken are very positive. The original floor lasted well beyond its 10-year warranty due to great care by the rec center staff. With continued maintenance and upkeep, I’m confident the new floor will last for many years to come.
Although the architect’s estimate for the new flooring was $300,000, the final bid for the project was more than $35,000 less. It is important to note that no district operating or permanent improvement monies were used to replace the flooring. All the revenue for the replacement came from recreation center proceeds generated by memberships and rentals.
Since 2008, the rec center has been self-sustaining. Thank you to the many members of our Cloverleaf community who continue to utilize this great resource. For those who have not tried the rec center, the new year is always a great time to consider the health and fitness benefits it has to offer. Come on over and give it a try!
Until next time … Go Colts!

Consider serving as a substitute teacher

Dec. 3, 2016 
Like other occupations, there are a variety of reasons teachers miss instructional time from their classrooms. Illness and professional development are among them. With all the learning standards we as a district are held accountable to, instruction cannot stop when a teacher is unable to be in the classroom on a particular school day. That is why we employ substitute teachers.
We are fortunate to have some great substitute teachers here at Cloverleaf. However, we have found it increasingly difficult to ensure our classrooms are well-stocked with quality substitute teachers. To that end, we are hoping to add to our substitute ranks.
All that is needed to begin the application process of becoming a short-term substitute is a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university. A short-term substitute can work every day but cannot teach in the same classroom more than five consecutive days. These are the substitutes you likely experienced when you went to school on days when your teacher was absent for a short period of time.
The other license is a long-term substitute license. This license is for a particular set of grade levels or content areas and qualifies the substitute to teach the same course for an extended period of time. The most common long-term substitute positions you are likely familiar with are maternity leaves or extended illness of a teacher.
If you are interested in substitute teaching at Cloverleaf, please contact the Medina County Educational Service Center at 330-723-6393 ext. 127. Or, if you would like to learn more about substitute teacher licenses, you can go to the Ohio Department of Education Web site at www.education.ohio.gov.
Until next time … Go Colts!

2016 Ohio school report cards: Progress

Oct. 15, 2016 
Today, in the fourth and final article on Cloverleaf’s 2015-16 Ohio school report card, I’d like to tackle the component called “Progress” (Value-Added).
All students should progress in their learning throughout the school year, regardless of their level of proficiency. In general terms, Value-Added measures the academic growth of a student or group of students based on their performance on state tests from one year to the next.
There are four groups of students who receive Value-Added ratings on the state report card: All students, gifted students, students in the lowest 20 percent in achievement, and students with disabilities. Here is the difference in Cloverleaf’s scores for the last two years:
  2014-15 2015-16
 All students A F
 Gifted students A F
 Lowest 20 percent B F
 Disabilities B F
Adding to the challenge of determining a Value-Added rating for the 2015-16 report card is the fact the state utilized tests from two different companies for English Language Arts and Math — PARCC tests in 2014-15 and AIR tests in 2015-16.
While the state’s methodologies are complex, the message they send is clear: We need to do better! Despite the high grades we scored in previous years, we knew we needed to take a critical look at our service delivery for gifted students and for our students with disabilities. We have done this through our work with the Ohio Department of Education’s support team as well as in our district’s strategic planning.
I look forward to the positive impact of the strategic initiatives we are presently exploring and implementing for our students so they all can progress — regardless of their ability. There has been a great deal of criticism lobbed at the state for its handling of the report card transitions over the last three years — much of which is deserved. I have guarded optimism that the state’s recalibration effort is complete. Now that we know the state’s rules and expectations, I am confident in our abilities to, once again, become a high-scoring school district for which we will all be proud.
Until next time … Go Colts!

2016 Ohio school report cards: Gap Closing

Oct. 8, 2016 
Today’s article is the third in a four-part series on Cloverleaf’s 2015-16 Ohio school report card. The topic this week is “Gap Closing.” This metric measures the performance of subgroups in closing the proficiency gap in English Language Arts (ELA), math and graduation. Subgroups are populations of 30 or more students that share a common characteristic. At Cloverleaf, our subgroup populations include “All Students,” “Economically Disadvantaged,” “IEP” (students with disabilities), and “White.” (We have several other populations with fewer than 30 students in each.)
The state determines a proficiency percentage goal for ELA and math as well as a graduation percentage goal. Each subgroup is measured against that goal and is awarded points based upon the district’s ability to “close the gap” in proficiency from the previous year. Subgroups don’t have to meet the proficiency goal to receive points; rather, subgroups have to show improvement from the previous year.
For example, the proficiency goal established by the state for ELA this year is 74.2 percent and will be increased each year. If an IEP subgroup scored 50 percent proficient in ELA for year one and 55 percent proficient the following year, that subgroup would have scored below proficient levels; however, the district would receive points for “closing the gap” between years one and two since the percentage of proficient students increased by 5 percent.
In the 2014-15 school year, Cloverleaf scored a “B” in Gap Closing. In 2015-16, every subgroup scored a lower proficiency rate in ELA and math than the previous year. As a result, we received an “F” in Gap Closing. Unfortunately, this letter grade was quite common throughout Ohio. The biggest reason attributed to this failure in Gap Closing is the change in state testing instruments from one year to the next.
Although comparing student scores from two different testing instruments may not be a reliable data point this year, I am a proponent of the Gap Closing report card measure because it forces us as a school district to analyze results of our most vulnerable student populations and make necessary adjustments to our programming. I look forward to reporting a better Gap Closing result to you next year.
Until next time … Go Colts!

2016 Ohio school report cards: Achievement

Oct. 1, 2016 
Last week, I promised a short series of columns on different components of the Ohio school report card. Let’s start with Achievement, which represents the number of students who passed the state tests and how well they performed on them.
Last year, Cloverleaf received an “A” in Achievement, having met 31 of 33 indicators. This year, we received a “D” by meeting only 16 of 30 indicators. Indicators compare the number of students who score proficient to the number needed to meet the standard.
For example, we met the fourth-grade social studies indicator with 87 percent of students receiving a score of proficient or better. To pass the indicator, a proficiency rate of 75 percent was needed. However, we did not meet the state indicator in fourth-grade reading with 65.3 percent of students scoring proficient or better. To earn credit for the indicator, 75 percent proficiency was required.
The obvious question is how could we go from an “A” to a “D” in one year? The state says we shouldn’t compare last year to this year because many of the tools it used to measure student mastery of educational standards have changed.
In 2015, Ohio pulled out of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing in English and math for myriad political reasons. To replace those assessments, the state decided to use the same testing instrument it has been using to measure science and social studies achievement — the American Institutes of Research (AIR) test.
Last year was the first year for the AIR test in English and math. Of the new AIR assessments administered last year, we only met the proficiency standard on nine of 19 tests. The sentiment across the state is the AIR tests are more rigorous than the PARCC tests. Additionally, last year was the first time Cloverleaf students took the tests on computer instead of using the paper/pencil methods of the past.
The same great teachers who taught our students when Cloverleaf was “Excellent with Distinction” and an “A” performer in Achievement two years ago are still instructing our students today. The tests may have changed, but our resolve to be excellent has not. With the increased rigor of the AIR assessments, we will continue to work hard on new ways to reach a high level of performance on the report card.
Until next time … Go Colts!

2016 Ohio school report cards: An overview

Sept. 24, 2016 
As you may know, the Ohio school report cards were released Sept. 15. These report cards have been controversial all over the state due to the poor grades of most school districts. We at Cloverleaf received grades far below what we expect as a school district and what our community expects from its schools.
To offer a little perspective, I am going to take the next few weeks to discuss some of the performance measures of the state report card. It is a complicated system that has changed numerous times over the last several years. Hopefully, I can help readers understand the different ways student progress is measured, as well as communicate facts about Cloverleaf’s academic performance.
Although there is a great deal of backlash against the current reporting system throughout the state, I have optimism about the future performance of our school district as a result of the newest report card measurements. Even though the state’s system has been a work in progress over the last three years, once it is properly calibrated, I believe it has the potential to be a valuable tool for us moving forward.
Until next time … Go Colts!

New shared services agreement

Sept. 3, 2016 
One of the topics I have written much about over the years is our outstanding food service department. Our talented food service staff is always creating new and better ways to inspire our students with great-tasting food at a great price.
Due to the reputation of our program, other school districts ask to visit our operation in an effort to understand the reasons behind our success. Last school year, one of these visits culminated in Cloverleaf entering a one-year agreement with Mapleton Schools to share the services of our food service director, Carrie Beegle. As you may recall, we also share our treasurer with New London Schools, saving money for both districts.
The number of requests for our food service consulting has only increased. So this year, we are contracting with Beegle to work at Cloverleaf three days per week, leaving two days per week for her to assist other schools in improving their food service programs. These districts pay Beegle’s salary and benefits while she is working with them, saving Cloverleaf $32,592 per year.
After the positive experience of sharing Beegle’s talents last year, we know our outstanding food service staff can continue Cloverleaf’s success even with her in a reduced role. Having an excellent food service operation at a lower price while helping other school districts achieve the same is a winning recipe for everyone.
Until next time … Go Colts!

Own a piece of Cloverleaf history

Aug. 27, 2016 
We have received numerous positive comments about our new home side stadium bleachers at Gene Clark Stadium. We hope to see our entire community celebrate with us at our first home football game of the year on Friday, Sept. 2, vs. Keystone.
Understanding the excitement created by the first two phases of our strategic plan stadium project being complete, we have heard from many who have a sentimental attachment to our old stadium bleachers. That is understandable considering the 55 years of great Cloverleaf memories that have been created while those bleachers existed. Our community has expressed to us a desire to own a piece of that history.
When the bleachers were taken down, the demolition contractor was nice enough to allow us to reclaim several of the bleacher boards. These boards have been cut into 12-inch segments, each with a small metal plate attached bearing the inscription: “Gene Clark Stadium Seat 1960-2016.” These souvenirs will be made available as a fundraiser for our athletic department at the Sept. 2 game for $20 each. If you are unable to attend the game but still would like to own a piece of Cloverleaf history, please contact Robin McEwen, All Sports Boosters secretary, at [email protected].
Until next time … Go Colts!

Facilities updates at Cloverleaf

Aug. 13, 2016

As we get set to begin the new school year, we have been working hard to improve Cloverleaf facilities for our students and community. One of these improvements is to our high school roof. Prior to this year, the most recent roof repairs were completed in the summer of 2008. During our financial difficulties of the past, we were unable to allocate the resources necessary to properly maintain our roofs. Now, we have a three-year plan to perform the work necessary to repair and maintain our high school and middle school roofs. The first phase of that includes extensive work to our high school roof being completed this summer.

The other project that has created a lot of excitement in the community is phase two of our stadium project. After replacement of our visitor bleachers last year, phase two is replacement of our home side stadium bleachers, press box and sound system. The project is being funded with proceeds from our Permanent Improvement levy funds at a cost of $853,000. We look forward to seeing the community come out to support our beloved Cloverleaf Colts at athletic and band contests in the very near future!

Until next time … Go Colts!

Important dates for the beginning of the school year:

Aug. 17: First day of school for grades 1-9 and for new high school students

Aug. 18: First day of school for grades 10-12.

Aug. 22: First day of school for kindergarten

Aug. 29: First day of school for preschool

Freshmen First Day

Aug. 6, 2016 
Welcome to the 2016-17 school year. We have had a busy summer getting everything prepared for our students to have the best school year ever! I look forward to sharing great news in this column about our stadium bleacher and high school roofing upgrades -- as well as some of the exciting student-focused initiatives we have planned, such as high school Professional Learning Communities, as well as an all-new high school semester schedule.

The first thing I want to tell you about is a collaboration that occurred between our students and high school principals last year. Our students felt the transition we provided to our freshman and new students did not adequately meet their social or academic needs. High school can be intimidating. However, as we know, a Cloverleaf High School education can be hugely rewarding. To ensure our freshmen and new students have the best opportunity to get off to a great start this year, the high school is conducting its first-ever “Freshmen First” Day. This is a highly focused time in which all high school freshmen and new students will get to spend an entire day learning about the Cloverleaf High School culture, academic/behavioral expectations, as well as understanding the physical facility such as the locations of classrooms, lockers, guidance area, etc. This special day is being planned and implemented by our students and administrators working together for our new high school students.

Here are some important dates to remember as we get set to begin the 2016-17 school year. Welcome back!

Aug. 17: First day of school -- grades 1-9 and new high school students.

Aug. 18: First day of school -- grades 10-12.

Aug. 22: First day of school -- kindergarten

Aug. 29- First day of school -- preschool

Until next time … Go Colts!

Dear Class of 2016

May 21, 2016 
Congratulations as you “commence” your life after Cloverleaf this Sunday afternoon. This weekend presents a great opportunity for you to look back on your 13 years of experience in Cloverleaf Schools in a sentimental way. After that, I urge you to focus on the present and prepare for the future. I assure you the best is yet to come! Cloverleaf has given you the tools to pursue the next chapter in your life; however, it is the support of your friends and family that has given you the will and confidence to pursue your dreams through their belief in you. I certainly hope you will take a minute to give thanks to a parent, sibling, friend or teacher who has been inspirational to you by showing a belief in your abilities. On behalf of the Cloverleaf Board of Education, I wish you nothing but the very best life has to offer.
Congratulations to the Class of 2016!
Until next time … Go Colts!

Stadium renovation project underway

April 30, 2016 
Have you seen Cloverleaf’s Gene Clark Stadium recently? If you have, you’ve noticed the home bleachers are gone! As part of our district’s strategic planning initiative, the home side stadium bleachers are being replaced. I am happy to report the $1 million projected price of the new bleachers came in more than $180,000 UNDER budget. The bleachers will be finished by Aug. 1 — just in time for the Colts’ 2016-17 football team, soccer teams and marching band to take the field.
The first phase of Cloverleaf’s stadium renovation project occurred last summer with the replacement of the visitor bleachers, which were moved to the top of the priority list due to safety concerns. Future phases of the project include construction of a new concession stand and restrooms, as well as a refurbished stadium entrance. These renovation projects are funded by the district’s permanent improvement levy, which voters renewed in 2015. We are grateful to residents for their support and look forward to Gene Clark Stadium proudly serving the Cloverleaf community for generations to come.
Many people have inquired about owning a piece of the old bleachers. We were able to retrieve several of the boards as they were being removed. We will make pieces of those bleachers into stadium mementos to be sold by our boosters at some time in the future. Yes, you will be able to own a piece of the historic Cloverleaf home stadium bleachers!
Until next time … Go Colts!

Cloverleaf to host Special Olympics Field Day

March 19, 2016 

Something great will be happening at our schools on May 12. The first-annual Medina County Special Olympics Field Day will be taking place in our stadium! This field day is designed as a day of fun and celebration of K-12 students with intellectual disabilities. Beyond the organized track and field events, the day also will feature our band, cheerleaders, crafts, face-painting and more. Thirteen districts from Medina County and beyond have been invited to participate.

We would love to see our community come out and show its support of all these students with opening ceremonies to begin at 9:45 a.m. I am thankful to have great teachers like Cloverleaf High School’s own Heather Eckenrode leading the event, as well as Cloverleaf Middle School teacher Alanna Gasper helping to facilitate. For more information, please check out our Web site at www.cloverleaflocal.org. I hope to see you on May 12!

Until next time … Go Colts!

Shared services agreement

Feb. 20, 2016
Over the course of the last six years, our food service department has been a model of business success. I’ve written about the financial turnaround of the department going from a $130,000 per year loss to its current model where great food is served and the department makes money.
With that success comes opportunity. One of these opportunities is partnering our operation with another school district. To that end, we have entered into a contract with Mapleton Local Schools (Ashland County) to share our food service director, Carrie Beegle, for the remainder of the 2015-16 school year.
Beegle will serve as the food service director for Mapleton Schools two days per week while working for Cloverleaf the other three. Mapleton will pay Cloverleaf for all of Beegle’s contracted time (including benefits) for the days she is working in Mapleton. Additionally, Mapleton will pay Beegle a stipend for the extra time (nights and weekends) she will be working to make its food service department successful.
From our perspective, it is a move that makes good business sense. We have established great food service teams in each of Cloverleaf’s three buildings. They are run by cafeteria managers who understand the day-to-day operations of our program and are highly successful leading their respective staffs. Additionally, Beegle has established herself as one of the premier food service directors in the state.
I’m not aware of other districts that share a food service director. Having experienced positive results from the shared-services agreement we have with our treasurer, it seems we have a great opportunity to blaze a new trail in this instance. With the contract to share Beegle’s services ending July 1, there is minimal risk to each district. At that time, both boards of education can consider whether or not it would be in our individual interests to continue the relationship into next year. Meanwhile, Cloverleaf will save more than $15,000 for the six months of the agreement!
Until next time … Go Colts!

All-day kindergarten coming in 2016-17

Feb. 13, 2016 
In order to maintain our district’s promise not to go back to our voters for additional revenue until sometime in the 2020s, we need to be methodical about any new programming we plan. To accomplish this, we engaged our community in a strategic planning process last year. One of the initiatives that came from that plan was changing from our current half-day kindergarten model to an all-day model beginning next school year.
There are a multitude of social, emotional and intellectual benefits of all-day kindergarten for students. There is a body of research that shows greater educational achievement by students in all-day kindergarten classes. This model will give our teachers the ability to know these students better at an early age and help to identify and address their learning challenges early, which will lead to greater educational success.
When we built the elementary school, we planned for the potential of all-day kindergarten. We have the space. Our programming will need additional teacher and support personnel. Those expenditures, as well as all our general operating expenses, are being carefully planned so that we continue to maintain our campaign promises -- all while providing the best possible education for our students.
Until next time … Go Colts!

New contracts in place

Nov. 28, 2015
I am delighted to inform you that our school board just entered into a three-year contract agreement with our classified staff (secretaries, bus drivers, custodians, etc.). Like the teacher agreement reached in August, this contract implements base salary increases of 2.5 percent in year one, 2.25 percent in year two, and 2 percent in year three. What is different is the job categories that are the most significantly below the average of the seven contiguous school districts to Cloverleaf will receive an additional 1 percent base salary increase in each year of the agreement. Although we still will be below the average in these areas, it will make us more competitive in keeping and attracting talented individuals for our positions.
At the same meeting, the board approved a salary increase for our administrative staff as well. This is a one-year increase of 3.25 percent, 3.5 percent, or 3.75 percent based upon number of years in the district. This salary increase represents the first raise for our administrative team since the 2008-09 school year.
Like our teachers, our administrators are an integral part of the academic successes we as a school district have achieved. They are visionary leaders who make it their personal mission to work with all our employees to provide the best possible education for the students of Cloverleaf. Even with the increase, Cloverleaf administrators average 8.9 percent below the salaries of their peers in Medina and Summit counties.
I’m sure there will be some who feel teachers, custodians or principals shouldn’t receive raises. The reality is that to attract and retain talented people, we have to be able to stay competitive in the education market. We remain steadfast in our financial commitment to our taxpayers not to go back on the ballot for new money until sometime in the 2020s. That commitment does not change with these increases.
Until next time … Go Colts!

Amazing fall season at Cloverleaf

Oct. 25, 2015
We have had an incredible fall athletic and marching band season here at Cloverleaf. Our volleyball team, girls soccer team and girls cross country team each have won Portage Trail Conference championships! Additionally, tennis star Emily Dunbar placed second in the state in girls tennis. Congratulations to these students and coaches who have worked so hard to perform at elite levels.
Congratulations also to our high school marching band, which has qualified for the state marching band finals for the 34th consecutive year! We wish these students and directors well as they prepare to compete in a few short weeks.
It is great that our students have had such success on the field. Student participation in activities outside the regular classroom gives them a connection to our school they would not otherwise have. Through these activities, students learn valuable life lessons such as working successfully as a team, understanding that the team’s result is greater than the sum of its individual parts, and having fun doing something you love. These are all great lessons as we prepare our students for life after Cloverleaf. If your son or daughter has not connected with a group outside the school day, I certainly hope you will consider one of the many great opportunities our school district offers our students.
The school year is off to a great start. I look forward to sharing more exciting news about our students in future columns.
Until next time … Go Colts!

Stay in touch with Cloverleaf events

Oct. 3, 2015 
What if you could sign up to receive an occasional recorded phone message – no more than once every one or two months – letting you know about upcoming events at Cloverleaf Schools you may be interested in attending?
The calendar at Cloverleaf is filled with opportunities to see our talented students perform in dramatic productions and concerts, to enjoy a good meal at a fundraising dinner, or to attend special events open to the community.
We do our best to spread the word about these opportunities through the Web, news media and other communications tools, but we are always looking for new ways to connect with the community. We hope that signing up for a short, informational phone message – recorded by a Cloverleaf student -- is something our residents may find helpful as they plan their own calendars.
If you would like to receive occasional recorded messages about upcoming Cloverleaf events, please contact Community Information Coordinator John Gladden at 330-302-0311 or [email protected]. We promise your telephone number will not be shared or used for any other purpose. Feel free to take a moment to let us know what kinds of events you are interested in hearing about. Unfortunately, we can’t tailor calls to everyone’s preferences, but your input will help us as we plan this new communications outreach.
On behalf of everyone at Cloverleaf, thank you for the many ways you support our students. The 2015-16 school year is off to a great start. We look forward to seeing you at many school and community events in the coming months.
Until next time … Go Colts!

County recycling bins at Cloverleaf

Sept. 19, 2015
You likely have heard by now that Medina County is making recycling available to our communities by installing single-stream recycling bins throughout the county. Perhaps you don’t know that three such containers are located right here on our Cloverleaf campus.
Feel free to drop off your recyclable materials in the bins conveniently located at the south end of the Cloverleaf Community Recreation Center parking lot. These bins are available to you for 24-hour access. For information on the types of recyclables accepted in the bins, please visit the Medina County Solid Waste District’s Web site at www.recyclemedinacounty.com.
These recycling bins -- as well as the recent installation of a Westfield Township weather warning siren on our campus -- are just small examples of some of the community partnerships we have established and value greatly for the benefit of our greater Cloverleaf community.
Until next time … Go Colts!

New teachers association contract

Aug. 29, 2015
I am happy to report the Cloverleaf Board of Education accepted at its last meeting a new three-year contract with our teachers association. The new contract includes base salary increases of 2.5 percent the first year, 2.25 percent the second year, and 2 percent the third year of the agreement.
There are sure to be people who say teachers should not be given raises or that the Board of Education gave raises as soon as an operations levy was passed. (It actually passed in May 2014.) I am fortunate to work with a great group of teachers who have played a large part in propelling our students to the district’s highest academic achievement ever. Our teachers made significant financial concessions during our financial turmoil. Unlike most other districts in this area, our teachers have not had a base salary increase since the 2009-10 school year. In fact, in the 2011-12 school year our teachers did not receive a longevity step increase -- an increase created years ago by our state legislature. For the past two school years, the teachers agreed to receive only half of their longevity step increase.
Yes, there are other new contractual provisions/changes that were made which I will discuss in a future column. I’m guessing, however, that the financial considerations of this contract are on the minds of many of our residents. The most important consideration for this and all future contracts is our promise to our taxpayers that we will not be back on the ballot for new revenue until sometime in the 2020s. Our commitment to that promise does not change with this contract.
Until next time … Go Colts!

See you at the football home opener

Aug. 22, 2015
Now that the school year has begun, one of the exciting events for our students and community to look forward to is our first Friday night football game. This year, we will be hosting that game on Aug. 28 in our own Gene Clark Stadium.
With safety concerns caused by the deterioration of our visitor-side stadium bleachers, it became necessary to replace them this summer. Due to circumstances beyond our control, the visitor bleachers will not be completed in time for the first game. Don’t worry! We are still going to have the game in our stadium. The only difference is the away fans, coaches and marching band will have temporary seating for this game. The experience for our Cloverleaf fans should not be hindered.
I look forward to seeing everybody at 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 28 for our home opener. Come out and cheer on our band, cheerleaders and football team as we kick off the 2015-16 school year!
Until next time … Go Colts!

Welcome to a new school year!

Aug. 15, 2015 
It is my pleasure to welcome our students, staff, parents and community to the 2015-16 school year at Cloverleaf! The first day back for our first- through twelfth-grade students is this Wednesday, Aug. 19. There are a lot of exciting things happening in our schools that I look forward to writing to you about during the upcoming year.
One question I often receive is why the school year starts so early. The number of school days has not changed, just the timing of those days within the year. There are a couple of reasons for this. When I was a student, it was not uncommon for school to start after Labor Day and go until the middle of June. What I didn’t have in school were standardized tests of district accountability resulting from the No Child Left Behind legislation. Although the form and timing of these tests is continuously changing to the dismay of parents, teachers and superintendents around the state, what is not changing is their implementation. We as a district have certain “windows” in which the state allows us to administer standardized tests. Thus, the earlier the start in a school year, the more days our students have to receive the knowledge they will need to be successful.
A byproduct of this earlier time frame is that we have been able to end the last couple years in the month of May. This means we realize a cost savings on health care for retirees for the month of June. That was no small amount this past year when more than 400 years of experience retired from our teaching ranks!
Get ready for a wonderful school year. I look forward to seeing everyone on Wednesday for the first day of school. It’s a great day to be a Colt!
Until next time… Go Colts!

Thank you to the Cloverleaf wrestling community

June 8, 2015
From the Recreation Center to the field house to the turf football field, Cloverleaf has a proud tradition of school/community partnerships that have resulted in first-rate athletic facilities for our students. There is soon going to be a new facility added to that list. Thanks to a group of highly motivated and caring parents, Cloverleaf will have a dedicated wrestling room.
This project was the brainchild of our Cloverleaf wrestling community, which desired to have a facility that could not only be used by our high school wrestling team, but will benefit youth wrestling programs in our district as well. What started as a dream and a fundraising initiative by a group of dedicated parents has turned into a reality.
This 4,000-square-foot facility will be located just south of the high school annex building on the old softball field. It will have a similar look to our Recreation Center and will benefit our students for years to come. With unanimous support of the Cloverleaf Board of Education and in partnership with the Cloverleaf All Sports Boosters, this facility will be constructed with a large donation of money, time and labor at no cost to our school district.
This continues to be an exciting time for our school district. Parents working tirelessly on a project of this magnitude all to benefit our students is yet another reason I’m proud to be a Cloverleaf Colt.
Until next time … Go Colts!

We're grateful to Cloverleaf voters

May 16, 2015

I would like to thank the Cloverleaf community for its approval of our Permanent Improvement renewal levy on May 5. This levy will enable our school district to continue our capital expenditure initiatives such as school bus replacements, technology, textbooks and building maintenance.

In May 2014 we made a promise to voters that we would not be back on the ballot for new revenue until at least 2020. We remain committed to that promise. In fact, the next time we will be on the ballot for anything is for the approval of the very same Permanent Improvement renewal in 2020!

Until next time … Go Colts!

Levy renewal will not raise taxes

May 2, 2015
Please remember Cloverleaf is on the ballot this Tuesday to renew our 2-mill permanent improvement levy. You likely know this renewal will not raise your taxes. Our voters have renewed this permanent improvement levy continuously since 1985.
Aside from our school buses, which were the subject of my article last week, this levy also is used for other permanent improvements such as textbooks and technology. With the ever-increasing demands of a 21st-century education, we need to give our students the tools they need to compete in a technologically advanced society. The permanent improvement levy is used for these and other capital expenditures that have a life-expectancy of five years or more. By law, these funds are not used for salaries or other operating expenses.
Another permanent improvement project that has received a considerable amount of positive feedback is the recent “face-lift” to the high school gymnasium. The permanent improvement levy gave us the ability to replace the bleachers and upper level seating with new, ADA-compliant equipment. The new look of the gymnasium has been well-received by our community and visitors to our campus. Another expenditure that will occur this summer is the replacement of the visitor’s side stadium bleachers. Independent consultants have told us the visitor bleachers are not safe to use for another football season.
We told our residents last year when the operations levy passed that we would not be back on the ballot for new operating money again until at least 2020. We will honor that commitment. With renewal of this permanent improvement levy this May, the next time we will be back on the ballot for anything is the renewal of this same levy in 2020!
Until next time … Go Colts!

P.I. renewal funds Cloverleaf bus purchases

April 18, 2015

This May 5, Cloverleaf is on the ballot to renew our permanent improvement levy. This 2-mill levy has been on our books since 1985 and raises nearly $1 million per year for permanent improvements. Permanent improvements are those capital expenditures that have a life-expectancy of five years or more. Over the next few weeks, I intend to highlight some of them for you.

As the largest geographic school district in Medina County, transportation is a significant expense. We maintain a fleet of 31 school buses just for our daily bus routes as we transport our students more than 675,000 miles per year. As you can imagine, new school buses are expensive at $95,000 each. To keep our fleet current, it is necessary for us to purchase two to three buses every year. The permanent improvement fund allows us to keep up with these purchases since the State of Ohio no longer subsidizes any school bus expenses.

We told our residents last year when the operations levy passed that we would not be back on the ballot for new operating money again until at least 2020. We will honor that commitment. With renewal of this permanent improvement levy this May, the next time we will be back on the ballot for anything is the renewal of this same levy in 2020!

Until next time … Go Colts!

What factors go into calling a "cold" calamity day?

March 7, 2015 
I have received several questions about what goes into calling a “cold” calamity day for Cloverleaf. The reason for canceling school during these “cold” days is fear of placing our students in dangerously cold wind chill temperatures.
According to the National Weather Service, wind chill is a measure of the combined cooling effect of wind and temperature. As wind increases, heat is carried away from the body at a faster rate, which drives down both the skin and internal body temperature. The actual calculation for wind chill is a highly complex mathematical formula that yields a number for what it “feels” like outside. The National Weather Service also created a chart that gives frostbite times in minutes. The higher the wind, the lower the threshold is for frostbite. In general, with a wind chill temperature of -15 degrees or warmer, it takes more than 30 minutes for frostbite potential. Much colder than that, the potential for frostbite increases to a shorter period of time.
Although the formula is clearly defined by the National Weather Service, it is troubling that the multiple weather outlets I as a superintendent use often yield widely different conclusions about the wind chill temperature. For example, there was a day the last week in February that the morning’s forecasted wind chills were -10 degrees. The actual wind chills turned out to be as low as -25 degrees. A two-hour delay would have put us in a safe zone for our students. However, based on the forecast, I did not call a delay that day.
The following day, Cloverleaf and the other local districts delayed while the city districts closed — a very rare occurrence. Although we were within the -15 degree threshold, students in the local districts predominantly take a bus or are driven to school. Students in the city districts often have to walk to school, which places them in the elements for a longer period of time. Considering that, it is understandable why a district like Cleveland, Akron or even Medina would close while a district like Cloverleaf may be able to open.
Living in Northeast Ohio, snow and cold temperatures will always be a reality for our students. Thank you for your continued support and understanding as I do the best I can to keep our students safe.
Until next time … Go Colts!

Thank you for supporting Cloverleaf Schools

Feb. 14, 2015
You likely have heard by now that Cloverleaf was released from Fiscal Emergency on Jan. 27. This was a great day for our school district and for our students as we are no longer under state financial oversight. I am grateful to the entire Cloverleaf community for its support of the education of our students as we pursue our mission of “guaranteeing all students an excellent education …” without the burden of fiscal oversight for the first time since 2003.

With that support comes responsibility. Having endured more than $7 million in cuts, we have re-calibrated and economized our operation while maintaining a high standard of educational performance. We are committed to making decisions that are good for our students, yet in the confines of our budget.

Our biggest campaign promise was that we would not go back on the ballot for new operations money until sometime in the 2020s. To that end, I have previously communicated that our district recently began a strategic planning process. A diverse team of 29 individuals -- including students, staff and community members -- is taking a critical look at our operation to identify areas we can improve so that we can provide our students with the best possible educational experience within our budget.

I am grateful to work in Cloverleaf. Students have achieved at their highest levels in the history of our district despite seemingly overwhelming financial obstacles. I look forward to seeing what the future brings to our district without the financial burdens of the past. Thank you again for showing your support to the Cloverleaf Local Schools. It’s a great day to be a Colt!

Until next time … Go Colts!

Ohio's new school safety tip line

Feb. 7, 2015 
As parents, there is nothing more important than the safety of our children. As a superintendent, when an opportunity arises that has the potential to increase the safety and security of our students, I want it.
Such an opportunity has recently become available to us through the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Public Safety. It’s called the SaferOH School Safety Tip Line, and it’s coming to Cloverleaf. This tip line gives students and adults the ability to anonymously share any information about a threat to our school or to a single student in our school.
All calls are answered and monitored by Ohio Homeland Security’s Threat Assessment and Prevention Unit. When it is determined action is needed, the information is reported to local law enforcement as well as to school officials.
We will be placing posters around our schools as well as publishing a highly-visible link on our district Web site for this service. Let’s do all we can to keep our kids safe!
Until next time … Go Colts!

Invitation from Cloverleaf Schools

Dec. 27, 2014

With passage of our levy last May, as well as the achievement of the highest student performance rating in the history of our district, 2014 was a great year for Cloverleaf. As we look forward to 2015, I am excited to inform you that our school district is about to engage in a strategic plan.

Our strategic plan is a community-focused way to address the future of education in Cloverleaf while honoring the commitment we have made not to go on the ballot for new revenue until at least 2020. This process requires educators and community members to engage in crucial conversations about what Cloverleaf needs to do to meet our stated mission to “guarantee all students an excellent education that prepares them for life’s challenges …” In order to plan in an effective way, we need people who are willing to give of their time and talents.
We are currently in the process of creating a core team of 25-30 people who will be charged with determining specific objectives to drive the focus and work of our district for the next three to five years. If you are interested in serving on this committee and are willing to commit to this effort, we invite you to click HERE to fill out a brief form. You will be asked for some information, including why you desire to serve on the Cloverleaf strategic plan. The link will be open through Jan. 7.
Please understand we will be unable to place everyone with an interest on the core team. However, there will be other opportunities to serve on the plan. We do ask that anybody who is interested can commit to all five of the meeting dates, which may be found on the link.
Thank you for your consideration of joining our strategic plan. I hope 2015 brings the promise of hope and happiness to you and your family!
Until next time … Go Colts!

New Cloverleaf Athletics Web site

Nov. 29, 2014
I am pleased to inform you of a new update to our Web site for everyone in the Cloverleaf community interested in athletics. The new Cloverleaf athletics page has the following features:
• Game/practice schedules for every sport (including middle school sports) all on a Google Calendar format that can be directly linked to your personal Google Calendar.
• The ability to sign up for e-mail or text updates for your favorite teams.
• Google Maps to every league and non-league school we play.
• Detailed maps of our campus and all off-campus training facilities utilized.
• All the informational components you would expect: booster information, forms, links and photo galleries.
You can access the site through our high school Web page or you can access it directly at www.coltsathletics.org. I would like to thank Cloverleaf teacher Mike McGee for his excellent work creating this Web site as part of his athletic administrator internship.
Until next time … Go Colts!

Cloverleaf Middle School named a School of Promise

Nov. 8, 2014 
Research shows socioeconomic status is a strong indicator of academic success in children. We at Cloverleaf believe all students are capable of academic success –regardless of their socioeconomic status.
I am pleased to announce the Ohio Department of Education recently acknowledged our student success by naming Cloverleaf Middle School a “School of Promise.” This distinction goes to school buildings that have attained a high level of student achievement in reading and mathematics while serving a significant population of economically disadvantaged students.
Yes, I am proud our middle school is one of only seven middle schools in the entire state to receive this distinction. What makes me prouder is this award represents that regardless of the house you live in, the car you drive or the clothes you wear, all students in our diverse Cloverleaf culture are receiving an excellent education. It’s a great day to be a Colt!
Until next time … Go Colts!

United Way provides resources for Cloverleaf students

Oct. 25, 2014
I am pleased to announce a new outreach at Cloverleaf Local Schools that will be great for our students at no cost to our district.
Although we are blessed to have wonderful guidance counselors on our staff, as well as two excellent prevention counselors funded through a Medina County Drug Abuse Commission grant, we have not had a mental health specialist available to our students – until now.
Thanks to a generous donation from United Way of Medina County, Cloverleaf will be able to provide a mental health specialist two days a week at the middle and high schools for the next three years. In today’s world, this is a service often needed but seldom available in school districts. We are delighted now to be able to provide this support to our Cloverleaf students who need it.
United Way has been a great community partner to Cloverleaf. Just this fall, all our sixth-graders received a copy of “Wonder,” which is an excellent book that teaches lessons of acceptance and respect. Additionally, along with our terrific partners at Westfield Group, Blair Rubber Co. and the Cloverleaf Elementary PTO, 280 of our students received free school supplies at our annual Back-to-School Fair held this past August.
United Way also hosted the E4 Youth Summit last February in which 27 of our Cloverleaf High School students shared their vision and developed plans for future engagement and involvement in our community, leading to the E4 Youth Venture Program for this year.
It is wonderful to have a partner like United Way of Medina County supporting our students!
Until next time … Go Colts!

Cloverleaf hits all-time high on Performance Index

Sept. 27, 2014
The Ohio Department of Education released its 2013-14 School District Report Cards two weeks ago. The report card is getting increasingly complicated; however, as a school district, this presents a great opportunity to focus our energies based upon ever-increasing data being made available to us.
Here’s a summary of how we did last school year compared to our performance two years ago.
Performance Index: The Performance Index measures the achievement of every student in the district and is, to me, the best overall indicator of student achievement. With a possible scoring range of 30 to 120, Cloverleaf’s score of 102.3 is our district’s highest since the measurement began in 2003-04.
2012-13: B
2013-14: B
Indicators Met: This measurement refers to 24 different measures of student success, such as performance on Ohio Achievement Assessments and the Ohio Graduation Test. We met 22 of the 24 indicators. Although we met all 24 a year ago, we actually performed better this past year on the two indicators we missed. The state raised the requirements to pass the indicators.
2012-13: A
2013-14: A
Annual Measurable Objectives: This compares specific subgroups of students to a state target for performance. The subgroups we have at Cloverleaf for this measurement are: All Students, Economically Disadvantaged, White, Multiracial, and Students with Disabilities.
2012-13: D
2013-14: B
Value-Added: This is a measurement of whether our students showed one year’s worth of academic growth.
2012-13: C
2013-14: A
Graduation Rate: The state measures the percentage of 9th graders who graduate in four or five years.
2012-13: Final Grade (4-year): A, Final Grade (5-year): B
2013-14: Final Grade (4-year): A, Final Grade (5-year): B
As you can see, we have improved. We still have work to do in several areas to ensure we are giving our students the best possible education we can. The question I am asked most often is: “What would our rating be if the state used its old method (three years ago) to calculate the district’s rating?”
2012-13: Excellent 
2013-14: Excellent with Distinction
Until next time … Go Colts!

Seeking the community's input

Sept. 13, 2014
Last month, the Cloverleaf Board of Education heard a presentation about the potential of drug testing students who participate in extracurricular activities such as clubs, sports and other school-sanctioned groups. We are seeking your thoughts on the possibility of Cloverleaf implementing such a program.
The proposed testing would include a random 20 percent of participants from each extracurricular activity. The random names would be derived by, and the testing would be administered by, a third-party vendor, not by Cloverleaf. Using extracurricular participation statistics from last year, the cost to administer the program would be about $4,000, which the board would have the authority to offset with participation fees. Students who failed the test would receive counseling services and a suspension from their activity.
There are currently two school districts in our county that administer such a testing program with two more, including Cloverleaf, investigating the potential. Ultimately, the Cloverleaf Board of Education will need to decide whether to institute such a program in our school district. In order to make this determination, it is important for board members to understand the perspectives of our community. To facilitate that, we have created a link on the Cloverleaf Web page at www.CloverleafLocal.org. You can find a copy of the proposed policy as submitted to the board, as well as a survey seeking community input.
I invite you to log-on and state your opinion of the potential of a random drug testing program for extracurricular activities here at Cloverleaf.
Until next time … Go Colts!

Colt V.I.P. cards for senior citizens

Sept. 2, 2014 

Are you at least 62 years old? Do you enjoy athletic contests, musicals or plays? If you answered “yes” to these questions, we have a special offer just for you. To show our appreciation to our district senior citizens, we offer the V.I.P. Senior Citizen Colt Card, free of charge. This card entitles you to attend all regular-season home athletic events, as well as dramatic and musical productions presented by Cloverleaf Schools, free of charge.

To obtain a card, simply stop by any home sporting event ticket window or stop by our athletic department office. You can also call the athletic department at 330-302-0535 to receive a pass in the mail. We want our senior citizens to be able to see and enjoy our talented student athletes, musicians and thespians. This V.I.P. Card is but a small token of our appreciation to you.

Until next time … Go Colts!

Welcome to a new year!

Aug. 16, 2014 

It is my pleasure to welcome our students, staff, parents and community to the 2014-15 school year at Cloverleaf Local Schools! As we look forward to ever-increasing levels of student achievement and an eventual end to Fiscal Emergency, it is a time to celebrate this wonderful district and the students and staff who work hard to make it so.

As promised in the levy campaign, busing will resume for our high school students this year. Additionally, our kindergarten students will have school for a half day every day, and our buildings once again will be available to the Cloverleaf community after school hours.

I am often asked what else the district will be bringing back. The Board of Education will perform a yearly audit of district finances to determine what, if anything, the district would be able to afford. This is aligned with our commitment not to be on the ballot again for new operations money until sometime in the 2020s.

Welcome to the 2014-15 school year. It’s certainly a great day to be a Colt!

Until next time … Go Colts!


No additional principals being hired at Cloverleaf

June 14, 2014
It is unfortunate that there has been inaccurate information spread through various media regarding our high school principal position. In presenting the truth, I should first offer some perspective.
In spring 2012, I presented the Cloverleaf Board with a list of potential cuts. Among them was a cut of the high school principal position. The board opted for that cut due to the fact the district would save a significant salary in a time of financial crisis.
In order to make the cut work, we changed the two remaining high school assistant principals into co-principals. Since both were on 214-day contracts, it was necessary to add 10 days to each of their contracts so we could have administrative coverage in the summer for routine organizational responsibilities -- just as the former principal served in that capacity with a 260-day contract.
The board understood this would be a temporary solution, as I was anticipating one of the co-principals would retire within two to three years. With that co-principal announcing her retirement this spring, I recommended to the board on May 29 that we return to a head principal structure, but with only one associate principal.
Some have made it seem as if we are adding a principal position with passage of the levy. That is absolutely not the case. Cloverleaf High School will remain at two principals. Each will have different responsibilities than in the temporary co-principal structure.
What’s the difference in cost between the two structures? Because we can now eliminate the extended contracts necessary in the co-principal model, changing to a head / associate principal model costs the district an extra $4.10.
In fact, here is the financial implication of the decision to go to a head principal / associate principal structure:
      Retiring co-principal base salary:                              $84,133
      Retiring co-principal 20 extended days for the
      2013-14 school year to provide summer
      coverage (other co-principal is receiving
      0 extended days in 2013-14 and beyond):              $7,862.90
      Total co-principal salary (2013-14):                         $91,995.90
      Total new principal salary (2014-15):                      $92,000
      Amount extra the district will pay to have
      a head principal/associate principal structure:     $4.10
How do we compare to other districts? Cloverleaf’s new high school principal will be earning over $4,700 less when compared to the same position in Medina and Summit counties, and over $4,000 less when compared only to our neighbors in Medina, Brunswick, Highland, Buckeye and Wadsworth. These comparisons include each district’s retirement contribution to the position. The retirement plans are structured similarly to one another and to the majority of districts across the state.
Our district has succeeded due to great teachers and staff working with great administrators. It is unfortunate that some discredit the leadership role of some very talented administrators in Cloverleaf’s success. I am fortunate to work with all Cloverleaf employees who are so dedicated to the students of this great district.
Until next time … Go Colts! 

Thank you for showing faith in Cloverleaf

May 17, 2014 
I am grateful to work in a community that values providing the educational opportunities of art, music, gym and library services to all its students. With this community showing its trust in Cloverleaf Schools as a result of the May 6 levy vote, we remain committed to being great stewards of your hard-earned tax dollars.
One of the most significant promises made by the Cloverleaf Board of Education during this last levy campaign is the commitment not to ask its residents for “new” money until 2020 or later. Honoring such a commitment takes a methodical, conservative approach to finances. As such, the Board of Education has limited its list of levy bring-backs to three things for the 2014-15 school year. Those are high school busing, half-day every-day kindergarten, and re-opening the buildings to outside groups. These bring-backs will be implemented the first day of school for the 2014-15 school year.
Understanding our community’s desire to bring back other opportunities that have been cut in the last six years, the board will make those decisions on an annual basis as determined by actual revenue/expenditure data for each year. In other words, we will continually evaluate the budget to see if there is anything that can be brought back without compromising our promise to stay off the ballot for new money until the 2020s.
Thank you for showing faith in your Cloverleaf Local Schools. Our students are worth it!
Until next time … Go Colts!

Submit your levy questions

Feb. 15, 2014
Having had an estimated 350 people attend our last Board of Education meeting, it is obvious to me there are many who feel great passion about the Cloverleaf Local Schools. As I have talked to several residents and employees since that meeting, it is evident that many concerned people have questions about our operations/finances as we ready ourselves for this upcoming levy campaign to preserve our school district.
To help answer these questions, we have set up a “Frequently Asked Questions” portal on our district web site through the Levy Information Central link at the top of the page. While there, residents are invited to submit their questions to our Community Information Office at [email protected]. You may also email your questions directly to me at [email protected]. We will compile a list of the most “Frequently Asked Questions” and post those to our web site.
Until next time … Go Colts! 

What "minimum standards" would look like

Feb. 1, 2014  
I would like to invite everybody to the Cloverleaf Board of Education meeting this Monday, Feb. 3, at 6 p.m. in the Cloverleaf Elementary School cafeteria.
As has been widely reported, the State Fiscal Oversight Commission has tasked the Cloverleaf Board of Education with identifying how “minimum standards” would look in Cloverleaf. The state commission also has instructed the board to list an additional $1 million in potential budget cuts to be implemented should the May 6 levy fail. The “minimum standards” approach is the first step to dismantling the quality education we have worked so hard to provide.
Although specific decisions will not be made at this meeting, the bleak picture of a minimum standards Cloverleaf will be presented. I hope you can attend this important meeting of the Cloverleaf board to understand what is at stake.
Until next time… Go Colts!

Public input needed

Dec. 14, 2014

The Cloverleaf community faces its most critical challenge since the formation of our school district in 1960. We need your help in deciding Cloverleaf’s next step.

In Ohio, school funding is a state-local partnership. With our 119 square miles, the state views Cloverleaf as having a larger property tax base compared to many other school districts.  herefore, the state has shown it is not going to give us more funding. The Fiscal Oversight Commission that controls Cloverleaf’s finances has said we must turn to the community to fill our budget deficit.

In that attempt, Cloverleaf has placed five consecutive property tax requests on the ballot. All have been rejected. Unfortunately, with each failure, our district’s financial picture worsens, requiring bigger and bigger levy requests to fill the gap. I believe our community cares about children, but is simply saying it cannot approve these increasing property tax requests.

There is an option to reduce the property tax millage – and this is where I ask for your input. One idea the Board of Education is considering is a smaller property tax request combined with an increase in the Cloverleaf income tax. This would generate the money the district needs to keep its current level of service to our students, but the cost would not fall entirely on property owners.

The income tax would not tax retirement income, investment income or child support. It is paid only by those who are employed and earning a wage. Residents who are on fixed incomes would not pay the income tax.

Although our last ballot issue was for 8.3 mills, we would realistically be looking at a property tax of at least 8.9 mills.  That translates to an additional $25.95/month for every $100,000 of property value. Another option would be to split the levy into a combination 4.5-mill property tax levy and a 0.5-percent income tax. A property owner would pay $13.13 per month per $100,000 of value and a wage-earner would pay half a percent of his or her salary.

Please take a moment to help us understand if this is an option our voters would support. Send your thoughts to Community Information Coordinator John Gladden by phone at 330-721-3521 or by e-mail at [email protected].

Not having a levy is not an option. If Cloverleaf voters do not approve new funding in May, the Fiscal Oversight Commission will slash programs and turn our district into a hollow shell of what it is today.

I believe this community cares too much to let that happen.  Thank you in advance for sharing your insights.

Until next time … Go Colts!

Minimum standards

Nov. 30, 2013
Our state-appointed Fiscal Oversight Commission met Nov. 21 to discuss the next steps for our school district. The news is not good, but it is also not surprising. With failure of the levy this past November, our district is now on a path toward minimum standards for our students.

In the coming weeks, I will be communicating with the Ohio Department of Education to understand exactly what that means and how that looks for our schools. What I do know and have been vocal about is how minimum standards are in no way correlated with what our students need now or in the future. Fiscal Oversight Commission chairman Paul Marshall said: “It’s very unlikely that this district will continue its level of educational excellence without additional funding.”

The glimmer of hope in this difficult conversation is that with passage of our levy in May, the discussion of minimum standards for our students will end.

I will continue to keep you updated with developments.

 Until next time … Go Colts!

Oversight Commission to discuss potential cuts

Nov. 16, 2013

Following the defeat of Cloverleaf’s emergency operating levy on Nov. 5, I am often asked what the next step is for our schools. The best way to answer that question is to look back a bit before looking ahead.

When Ohio placed Cloverleaf in Fiscal Emergency in 2012, the state appointed a Fiscal Oversight Commission to be in charge of the district’s finances. After examining Cloverleaf’s operations -- including the cost-saving measures we have enacted -- the commission issued a Fiscal Recovery Plan.

Understanding that further cuts would take opportunities away from students, and recognizing that no additional state funding is coming our way, the commission’s plan required Cloverleaf to go to the community to request funds to close the district’s budget gap. That means we are forced to continue to place ballot issues before voters.

The loss on Nov. 5 was Cloverleaf’s fifth failed attempt to pass a levy that would get the district out of Fiscal Emergency. Because our requests for local operating funds have been unsuccessful, the Fiscal Oversight Commission will meet soon to discuss the potential of further cuts to our schools, which the state commission has the authority to force upon us.

After implementing more than $7 million in cost-reductions at Cloverleaf, further cuts will deeply damage our ability to provide even a minimum of what our students need in a 21st-century education. The State of Ohio, however, may disagree with that sentiment and require Cloverleaf to make those cuts.

Although the future of our programming and services is unknown at this time, we as a district remain committed to doing our very best for our students no matter what may be dictated to us. I promise to keep you informed as information becomes available.

Until next time … Go Colts!

This Crowd is Cloverleaf Proud

Oct. 5, 2013

After multiple levy campaigns in the last three years, the Cloverleaf Pride Committee does not have the revenue to purchase campaign signs. We have heard many say they want to show their Cloverleaf spirit beyond the typical election season.

To that end, the Pride Committee has created a new Cloverleaf “spirit” sign. The logo is: “This Crowd is Cloverleaf Proud” and can be proudly displayed long after the election.

If you would like to show your Cloverleaf spirit by owning your own sign, please contact our Community Information Coordinator, John Gladden, at [email protected] or 330-721-3521. Signs are two for $5. Anyone wishing to donate signs for our community can do so as well.
Until next time … Go Colts!

Committed to good stewardship

Sept. 21, 2013
One of the questions I am routinely asked about school levies is: “If we pass this levy, when will you be back on the ballot again?”

If we knew the exact rate increases to expect for diesel fuel, health care premiums, paper/supplies, service providers, etc., while also guaranteeing we would see no further unfunded mandates by the state government and a consistent state funding formula that didn’t change with each new governor, it would be an easy question to answer.

We are mandated to create a five-year fiscal forecast for our district even in the midst of all the “unknowns” that affect school funding.  Our treasurer has taken forecasting a step further by calculating a 10-year forecast for purposes of long-term levy planning.  Based upon the information available to us today, with passage of the November levy, it is expected that we would not be returning to the ballot until sometime in the 2020s for new operations revenue.

Having cut more than $7 million from our operation in the last five years, our financial mission at Cloverleaf has and will continue to be to deliver the best possible education in a cost-effective way.  Our commitment to being good stewards of our taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars will never cease.

Until next time … Go Colts!

The "bring-backs" with passage of the Nov. levy

Sept. 14, 2013

Having cut more than $7 million from the budget over the course of the last five school years, it has been determined by both the Cloverleaf Board as well as the State’s Fiscal Oversight Commission that with the looming deficits faced by the district, Cloverleaf will not be able to cut its way to fiscal stability.
In fact, the Chair of the State Fiscal Oversight Commission, Paul Marshall, exclaimed at a recent meeting: “I worry about the district’s capacity to cut more.”

Like the last two levy attempts, the Board of Education announced the following cuts would be returned with passage of the levy this November:

•     Re-institute high school busing
•     Re-institute the ½ day-every-day kindergarten model
•     Re-open the buildings to outside groups after school

Levy passage also would enable Cloverleaf to place a law enforcement officer in each building, as requested by parents following the Newtown shooting tragedy.

In addition to those four items, the board has determined the following would be brought back with passage as well:

•     Two gifted program teachers
•     Cap elementary school class sizes at 28 (add two teachers)
•     9th-grade sports
•     Some previously cut non-athletic activities (Children’s Theater, Power of the Pen, Elementary Student Council, etc.)
•     Field trips

In addition, the Pay-to-Participate Fee would be reduced to $150/high school, $75/middle school from the current rate of $250/$125.

Unfortunately, it is not feasible to bring back everything that has been cut.  With passage of the levy this November, long-term forecasts show Cloverleaf will not need to return to voters with a new levy request for a long time.  I will tell you more about that next week.

Until next time … Go Colts!

New state report card system

Aug. 31, 2013

Last week, the State of Ohio rolled out a new system for grading the performance of public schools. Let me use the following illustration to add some perspective.

Imagine your child -- a student at Cloverleaf -- has always been given clear expectations from his teacher about grading policies, homework and classroom procedures.  Your child worked hard and excelled to the point where he has consistently received A’s on his report card, which you know from your school experience means “excellent.”

This year is different, however.  Instead of giving your child those expectations clearly at the beginning of the year, the school decides to create a more complex grading system with higher standards for performance throughout the course of the school year.  We are going to filter his test scores through this new system beginning this year.  At the end of the year, instead of your child receiving an “excellent” grade, we are going to give specific letter grades on his attendance, homework and classroom work using this new system.  We are going to add more criteria to it in the coming years.  This year, however, he won’t receive a cumulative grade.  We’ll give him one in 2015 — just don’t expect it to be as good as his grade used to be, because what was once an “A” is now a “B” in some areas.

If a school did this to a child, you, as a parent, likely would be concerned.  However, after your child worked under the new criteria for a time, I’m sure he would excel again.  Although it would be upsetting that the rules seem to have changed and may not have been clearly communicated to you as a parent, ultimately, your child will be a better student by the end of his time at Cloverleaf because of the increased measures and accountability.

That is how I feel about the new state report card. Although I would have preferred a system that does not seem to discount our Excellent with Distinction rating from just one year ago, I am motivated by the fact that we have more data, more potential for improvement, and more criteria in which to excel now and in the future.

Although the rules changed and the communication from the state may not have been as clear as I would have preferred, in the end, the true winners are going to be the students of Cloverleaf! 

Until next time … Go Colts!

Two Colt football heroes honored Aug. 30

Aug. 24, 2013

I love Friday night football! The atmosphere of the game -- complete with the team, marching band, cheerleaders, student cheering section and crowd -- is, for many, the most memorable part of the high school experience. Friday night football is a time when people gather from all 119 square miles of our Cloverleaf community to see friends, eat food and cheer our team to victory.

On very rare occasions, one of our own Cloverleaf football players excels so mightily at the game of football, he is rewarded with an NFL contract to play the game at the highest level in the world. We are blessed to have two Cloverleaf alums who have done just that.  Dick Anderson, Class of ’62, played football at The Ohio State University and went on to play for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints.  Kyle Juszczyk, Class of ’09, played football at Harvard University and is now a member of the Baltimore Ravens.

To honor the significant accomplishments of these gentlemen, we will have a number retiring ceremony at the first game of our 2013 season on Aug. 30 at 6:45 p.m. I hope you will come celebrate the accomplishments of these two individuals as they have brought great pride to our entire Cloverleaf community. I hope you also will consider attending the Stampede at the Stadium festivities earlier that same evening at 5 p.m. 

Come, join the fun and celebrate the success of two very special alums.  I look forward to seeing you on Aug. 30.

Until next time … Go Colts!

Welcome to Cloverleaf!

Aug. 17, 2013

It is my pleasure to welcome our students, staff, parents and community to the 2013-14 school year at Cloverleaf Local Schools! Once again, student achievement has risen in our district. Last year was the first time we were identified as “Excellent with Distinction.” Although the state is no longer using that designation for school districts, I am proud to report we have achieved a new milestone. Initial state data indicates we have passed 24 of 24 performance indicators on the state report card – another first for our district.

The 2013-14 school year promises to be a busy and exciting year at Cloverleaf. With the challenges of fiscal emergency, as well as the November ballot issue, there is a great deal of information we desire for you as our residents to know about our school district. I look forward to using this column and other venues to communicate about much of the great work happening in our schools.

Welcome to the 2013-14 school year. It is a great day to be a Colt!

Until next time … Go Colts!

Congratulations to the Class of 2013

June 1, 2013

In 2000, when I needed to call someone, I used the corded phone on the wall and hoped the other person was home. If not, I left a message and hoped they would call back when I was home. Today, I use a cell phone. If they don’t answer, they can call me back wherever I may be.


In 2000, when I needed to travel somewhere, I looked it up on a map after finding an address in a phone book. Today, I use a GPS. I surely don’t own a phone book!


In 2000, I listened to music one CD (compact disc) at a time. Today, I access thousands of songs downloaded on my phone with one touch.


In 2000, when the weather was bad, students had to watch the news to see if school was closed. Today, as a superintendent, I make one phone call and it is distributed to 7,000 phones in the district in minutes.


In 2000, the class of 2013 was in kindergarten. Today, the Class of 2013 graduates, thus, commencing their lives after Cloverleaf following a 13-year period of more change than the world has ever seen.


No matter how much change occurs in the world around us, nothing can ever change or replace the love of family and friends who supported you to reach this point in your life. Today, I challenge you to express gratitude to those who have cared for you and nurtured you to this great accomplishment.  


Another thing that will never change is that you will always be a Cloverleaf Colt. On behalf of the entire Cloverleaf family, Congratulations Class of 2013! 


Until next time … Go Colts!

Lessons from Little Miami Schools

May 4, 2013

I recently had a highly intriguing conversation with a resident. He said he doesn’t want his taxes to go up; however, he also doesn’t want the Cloverleaf levy amounts to continue to rise like Little Miami Schools, another district in Fiscal Emergency. Little Miami failed in a long series of levy attempts until its community passed a 13.95-mill levy. 

The resident I spoke with made the observation that he wishes he could have “locked-in” his levy rate when Cloverleaf was on the ballot for 5.9 mills in 2011, 6.9 mills in 2012, and now 7.9 mills in 2013. His rationale is that with the $6.6 million in cuts the district already has made, he knows Cloverleaf cannot cut its way out of this crisis.  He also understands the state Fiscal Oversight Commission likely will determine that our future levy rates will continue to rise — just like they did in Little Miami.

Fact is, when I talk about the reality of increasing millage rates, I open myself up to criticism for making threats about future levies.  But, as Winston Churchill said: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  My hope and desire is that we can put an end to the state overseeing our district finances and not become the next Little Miami.

Please exercise your right to vote in this Tuesday’s election.  The need is urgent!

Until next time … Go Colts!

Levy question: What will be brought back?

April 27, 2013

Since January, the most-asked question I have received is: “Will high school busing be brought back if the levy passes?”

I understand that the high school busing cut this past January has negatively impacted many of our Cloverleaf families. With 119 square miles, our school district’s large geographical area makes this cut especially difficult. Although the traffic congestion in the mornings and afternoons has subsided a great deal since January, the desire of our parents to bring back high school busing was not overlooked by the Board of Education when it determined that passage of the May 7 levy will result in high school busing being reinstated in the 2013-14 school year.

The other question I am often asked is: “What (else) will be brought back with passage of the levy?”

The answer is that our buildings will be re-opened for use by the public, the planned all-day-every-other-day kindergarten model will revert back to the current half-day-every-day model, and police/sheriff deputies will be assigned to all three buildings for added security.

With a 0 percent increase to Cloverleaf projected in the governor’s latest budget, relief will not be coming to our district from the State of Ohio. The need is urgent!

Until next time … Go Colts!

State of the Schools Address April 24

April 13, 2013

As much as I try to communicate about things that are happening in our schools, I have found there is not one, single, best way for people to get information.  That is why we communicate in print media, our district Website, electronic newsletters and even, most recently, YouTube videos.
One communication tool we have not used in recent years is a “State of the Schools” address for those who would prefer to hear a live presentation about our schools. That is about to change.
Please consider joining me on Wednesday, April 24, at 7 p.m. in Cloverleaf Elementary School for the 2013 State of the Schools address.  I look forward to the opportunity to talk to you about Cloverleaf Local Schools.  
Until next time … Go Colts!

Show your Cloverleaf Pride

April 6, 3013
May 7 is a critical date for Cloverleaf as that will be the day our community determines the future of our school district at the ballot box.
After $6.6 million in budget cuts over the last five years, several elementary classes with more than 30 students, families leaving our district for fear of the future, and a projected 0 percent funding increase from the state, we can’t cut our way out of this crisis.
One way to show your support for Cloverleaf is by displaying a yard sign. On Saturday, April 13, the Cloverleaf Pride Committee is going to host “Yard Sign Pick-Up Day” at Cloverleaf Elementary School from 10 a.m. to noon. If you are unable to pick up a sign on that day but still desire a yard sign, please contact the Cloverleaf Pride Committee at [email protected] or or 330-732 LEVY (5389) and one will be placed in your yard. If you already have a sign, that is the day to display it in your yard to show your Cloverleaf Pride.
Thank you in advance for your support of our schools. The need is urgent!
Until next time … Go Colts!

Congratulations to the CHS Academic Challenge Team

March 23, 2013

When you think of Academic Challenge, my guess is your first thought is the game show on television. Many don’t realize Academic Challenge is an extracurricular activity that competes in multiple academic tournaments throughout the school year. Did you know the Cloverleaf High School Academic Challenge team is one of the best around? Our team just completed its tenth-straight winning season this year by capturing the Medina County League Championship with a 14-0 record!

This year, the team has qualified for four national-level academic tournaments in Washington D.C.; Chicago; College Park, Maryland; and Atlanta.  The future is bright for this young team, which returned only two letter-winners from last season’s highly successful team.

Congratulations to the 2012-13 team and its coach, Cloverleaf teacher Cameron Flint, who has worked so hard to build a great Academic Challenge program. Thank you all for bringing so much pride to Cloverleaf High!

Until next time, Go Colts!

Colt Hard FAQs video series

March 2, 2013
We at Cloverleaf are continuously looking for ways to communicate about educational topics that are relevant to our taxpayers. Some topics lend themselves to being communicated best via video. To that end, we are beginning a new video series called “Colt Hard FAQs” (Frequently Asked Questions). Our goal is to create a series of four- to five-minute videos that cover a variety of education-related topics we have received “frequently asked questions” about.


By the time you read this column, the first two videos in the series will be posted. The first video answers the question “What’s a mill?” while the second video answers “How is the district saving money with the recent transportation cuts?” These videos will be posted at www.cloverleaflocal.org and www.youtube.com. I hope you will check them out.
Click HERE to go right to the Colt Hard FAQs archive on the Cloverleaf Web site.


Until next time … Go Colts!

State casino tax revenue

Feb. 9, 2013

Recently, Ohio made its first disbursement of funds to school districts from state casino tax revenue.

The money is distributed to schools twice a year based on the number of students in each district. Cloverleaf’s share was $57,773, which goes into our general operating fund.

To put it into perspective, this revenue represents just 5.5 percent of the nearly $1.1 million the state has cut from Cloverleaf’s annual funding since 2009. We are grateful for the casino money, but it’s a fraction of the overall reduction in state support. The cumulative impact of that lost funding is one major reason we have cut $6.6 million from our budget over the past five years.

School funding has been and will continue to be a highly debated topic in Ohio. As the governor has recently announced his new funding plan, I will reserve judgment until I see how any new funding model will specifically affect Cloverleaf Local Schools. I look forward to sharing more about this topic in the upcoming weeks as we learn more from Columbus.

Until next time … Go Colts!

Building auction update

Jan. 19, 2013

Now that the school auctions are complete, I thought I would take time to answer the most “Frequently Asked Questions” I received regarding the auctions.

Who bought the Seville and Lodi buildings and what do the purchasers intend to do with them?  The Seville building was purchased by an investor in Columbus and the Lodi building was purchased by an investor in New York.  As of the writing of this column, neither has made any official announcement as to what they desire to do with the buildings.

Why was the Westfield Elementary building not offered at public auction?  When the district was consolidated to create one Cloverleaf, five townships/villages donated a school to the new Cloverleaf Local School District.  The board felt it only right to offer the buildings back to their respective townships/villages prior to auctioning the buildings.  The Village of Westfield Center decided to take the board up on its offer (as did Chatham Township previously).  We are in the contract phase to complete the $1 transaction of the building.

Why doesn’t the district use proceeds from the sale of the buildings and contents to bring back busing?  We are not permitted to use revenue from the sale of buildings and contents for district operations.  Rather, we are only permitted to use the revenue for permanent improvements, which are capital items with a life expectancy of five years or more.  Examples include books, technology hardware, buses and equipment.  To summarize, we are permitted to buy a bus with the proceeds, but we cannot pay for a driver.

I saw some rolls of paper sold at one of the auctions.  Why didn’t Cloverleaf use them?  That seems wasteful.  Unfortunately, after having cut 71 positions in the last five years, we have created inefficiencies in the process.  As much as I would have desired to send a crew of custodians to each of the buildings to cover every square inch, we didn’t have the resources to do that.  Instead, I asked the principals to prioritize those items we could use or were of better quality than something we currently had in inventory so they could be swapped prior to the auction.  That was accomplished.  The return on investment of sending people to those buildings over a length of time paying overtime wages would not have been financially beneficial.  The unfortunate reality is negative public perception on those few items that could have been kept.  In the end, my hope is people will understand we did the best we could within the limited resources we had. 

Thank you to everyone who attended the open houses.  It was great to see so many people take one last nostalgic walk through their elementary schools.

Until next time … Go Colts!

Busing savings

Jan. 12, 2013

“Since the school district is now transporting middle school students only, how is money being saved if buses still have to drive all the morning routes?”

I have been asked this question several times this week -- our first week since cutting high school busing.  To answer the question, consider the following scenario for illustration purposes.

Let’s say a bus has 50 students – 25 middle school students and 25 high school students. Once high school transportation is cut, there are only 25 middle school students left on the bus.  If the district drove the exact same route with only 25 middle school students, there would be no money saved. Instead of driving the same route with only 25 middle school students, the route is changed so 25 more middle school students can ride the same bus. 

With 119 square miles in our district, the scenario I used is a highly simplified version of what we did to consolidate the routes.  In actuality, other variables such as distance from the school and location of middle school students are considered.  In the end, without high school transportation, we have nine fewer routes being driven on the former high school/middle school schedule.  That is how we are saving money on transportation expenses.

The unfortunate result of this change is the extra burden it has created on our high school parents and students.  I know the transition has been difficult and burdensome.  Thank you for your patience as we continue to deal with the traffic congestion at the high school in the morning and afternoon.

Until next time … Go Colts!

The ways of snow days

Dec. 15, 2012

Every year around this time, I am asked (mostly by students) how a snow day is determined. The potential impact the decision has on student safety, childcare arrangements, parent work schedules, etc., is not taken lightly. Therefore, we use all the information available to us to make the best decision we can. Even trained meteorologists aren’t always accurate with weather predictions; however, we use their information and more to determine whether to call a snow day.


When snow is forecasted, our transportation supervisor begins traveling the roads at 3:45 a.m. to assess road conditions. At 4 a.m., I begin monitoring local radar as well as updated forecasts. At 5 a.m., I receive a status report from our transportation supervisor. If conditions warrant, I drive district roads at this time as well. I also communicate with other county superintendents about the status of snowfall in neighboring districts.


By 5:45 a.m. a decision is made to have school, delay, or close school. If the decision is made to delay or close, students/parents receive an automated phone call and the local broadcast media is immediately informed. The information is also posted immediately on our district Web site. Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t always cooperate with our time schedule, which can cause delays in our communications.


With 119 square miles in our district, we do the best we can with the information we have available. Again, it is not a decision taken lightly. The worst part of determining a snow day is that no matter the decision made, it will be upsetting to some. That’s part of the job I don’t look forward to, but have come to accept.


Until next time … Go Colts!

Open house dates

Dec. 8, 2012

As promised in my last Post article, we have final details on scheduled “open houses” of our three elementary schools in Westfield Center, Seville and Lodi:

 Westfield Elementary -- Dec. 14 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
 Seville Elementary -- Jan. 4 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
 Lodi Elementary -- Jan. 11 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

We hope you will take the opportunity to take one last nostalgic walk through the interior of these elementary schools.  Please spread the word to the generations of children and adults who attended school in these buildings for the last 100-plus school years.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Until next time … Go Colts!

More than bricks and mortar

Nov. 24, 2012
After a successful move to Cloverleaf Elementary School this past January, it is now time for our district to part ways with its beloved elementary schools in Westfield, Seville and Lodi. We have scheduled three auction dates:
1. Dec. 15 -- This auction will be a “contents only” auction at Westfield Elementary School. The Cloverleaf Board of Education is working with the village on the possible sale of the building to the village; therefore, the building will not be available at this time to public auction.

2. Jan. 5 -- This auction will be for the Seville Elementary School building and all contents.
3. Jan. 12 -- This auction will be for the Lodi Elementary School building and all contents.

We realize these buildings are more than just bricks and mortar. They serve as memories to generations of students who have been educated inside their walls. Understanding the special sentimental value of these buildings, we are working on a schedule of open houses so any interested community members can take one more nostalgic look at the buildings before they are auctioned. Stay tuned for details.

Until next time … Go Colts!

Teachers make salary concessions

Nov. 3, 2012
I often meet with several of my senior citizen friends at the Cloverleaf Recreation Center to update them about our schools in our quarterly “Coffee with the Superintendent” meetings.  In our last meeting, someone asked if the teachers would be getting big raises once the levy passed.  I thought her question was fair and had desired to answer it.  Because we were still in negotiations with our teachers union at the time of her question, it would have been unethical and unlawful to give a response. 

Now that negotiations have concluded, I am delighted to inform you that we have reached an agreement with the Cloverleaf teachers (Cloverleaf Education Association) on a new three-year contract. The contract we entered with the Association gives a 0 percent base salary increase for all three years, a step increase (raise based on experience that was created by the Ohio Legislature) the first year, and limits step increases to 50 percent of the scale in the second and third years of the contract. This deal is saving our district over $330,000 more than it would have saved by “rolling over” the former contract.

I am saddened when I hear people complain about “greedy” teachers in Ohio.  The Cloverleaf teachers took a major insurance concession last year ($400,000) and have helped the bottom line of the Cloverleaf budget in the last two contracts by going far beyond comparable school districts in salary concessions in order to help our district during a time of fiscal emergency. I’m hoping our entire district will take a major step to ending fiscal emergency this Tuesday on Election Day.  Our kids can’t wait! 

Until next time … Go Colts!

Baseball field improvements

Oct. 27, 2012


Recently, some residents have questioned why we made improvements to the baseball field in a time of financial crisis. Believe it or not, we actually are saving money by making these improvements. Let me explain …


For some background, you probably have noticed the large pile of dirt in the front of the new elementary school. The reason for that dirt is one of the design changes we implemented early in the elementary construction project. We switched from a light-duty asphalt to a heavy-duty asphalt in the “bus loop” entrances off Friendsville Road. As part of the extra digging required for a heavy-duty surface, we ended up with 16,000 cubic yards of extra dirt. To move all that dirt off site and finish grading the front field was going to cost the district more than $200,000. 


One of our contractors was willing to give the district a significant discount to move the dirt if we kept it on our Cloverleaf campus. Thus, without spending a dollar of operating funds, we were able to properly grade our baseball field, plant grass and sod the infield, construct new dugouts, replace rusted fencing, move the remaining dirt throughout the campus and finish grading the front field of the elementary school for $146,000. That is more than $50,000 less than just moving the dirt off the campus — something we would have had to do anyway.


Until next time … Go Colts!

The Little Miami story

Oct. 20, 2012
The Little Miami School District is a district in Southwest Ohio with many similarities to Cloverleaf:
  • After its Fiscal Emergency designation, Little Miami placed a 5.95-mill operating levy on the ballot, which failed.  Prior to our Fiscal Emergency designation, we at Cloverleaf placed a 5.9-mill levy on the ballot, which failed last November.

  • Little Miami borrowed money from the state fiscal solvency fund to pay its bills.  Cloverleaf borrowed $678,000 last year from the state fiscal solvency fund to pay our bills.

  • To reimburse the state for the money it borrowed, Little Miami was forced to raise its levy millage after failing its initial 5.95-mill levy. Cloverleaf was forced to raise its millage from 5.9 mills last year to 6.9 mills this year for the same reason.
  • Little Miami failed nine consecutive levies while in Fiscal Emergency.  As Little Miami continued to borrow money, the state made the district steadily increase the levy millage.  In November 2011, the Little Miami School District finally passed its levy at 13.95 mills!  Cloverleaf is on the ballot this November for 6.9 mills …

My hope is the comparisons with Little Miami will end this November. It’s time to stop Fiscal Emergency as well as this ever-increasing millage cycle.  Our kids can’t wait!

Until next time … Go Colts!

Decline in state funding

Oct. 13, 2012

I have often been asked how much the state contributes to the cost of a Cloverleaf education.

Ten years ago, the answer to that question was 54 percent. In other words, our state funding was 54 percent of the average per-student cost of a Cloverleaf education in 2002.

Many are surprised to hear that in 2012, the state pays only 32 percent of the per-student cost of a Cloverleaf education. 

Since the first DeRolph school funding decision 15 years ago, I have read multiple editorials and heard from numerous Medina County residents that the state needs to do something about school funding. The reality is in those 15 years, nothing significant has been done.

As for a future Ohio school funding model, we are told something will be forthcoming in the next year. Faced with a school district in Fiscal Emergency, Cloverleaf kids cannot wait for the state.

Until next time … Go Colts!

High school busing cuts

Oct. 6, 2012
Lately, I have received several inquiries about what will happen with our student transportation should Cloverleaf’s upcoming levy not pass.

We as a school district were directed by the state to create a contingency of additional cuts through our fiscal recovery plan that addressed the potential of a levy failure. These are cuts that extend beyond the $6.1 million in cuts and cost savings already instituted in the last five years to this point.

One of those cuts is busing for high school students. As the largest geographic district in Medina County, we bus students more than 675,000 miles per year.  Our fuel rates to run our buses have increased 36 percent over the last three years.

As a district in Fiscal Emergency, the Cloverleaf Board of Education is directed by the state to make tough decisions regarding district expenditures.  Those decisions are not always popular, nor are they necessarily good for students or parents.  Providing high school bus transportation is not a requirement by the state of Ohio. The unfortunate reality is that it cannot be sustained if our present fiscal condition continues.     

Until next time … Go Colts!

Sign day Oct. 6

Sept. 29, 2012


Nov. 6 is a critical date in Cloverleaf School history. It is the day when the taxpayers of ourcommunity will ultimately determine the fate of our school district. After $6.1 million in budget cuts the last fiveyears, several elementary school classes now with more than 30 students, andfamilies leaving our district for fear of the future, we can’t cut our way outof this crisis.


One way to show your support for Cloverleaf is by displayinga yard sign. On Saturday, Oct. 6, theCloverleaf Pride Committee is hosting a “yard sign pick-up day” at CloverleafElementary School from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cloverleaf Elementary School islocated at 8337 Friendsville Road.


If you are unable to pick up a sign on that day but stilldesire a yard sign, please contact the Cloverleaf Pride Committee at [email protected] 330-732-LEVY and one will be placed in your yard.


Thank you in advance for your support of our schools. Ourkids can’t wait.


Until next time … Go Colts!

Volunteers needed!

Sept. 22, 2012

Jan. 13, 2012, is a day in Cloverleaf history that will live fondly in my heart forever.

I thought that day was going to be memorable because of the significance of moving three school buildings into the new Cloverleaf Elementary School. What actually made the day memorable was not that all the boxes and equipment ended up in the new building -- it was the people who made it happen!

On the only day of the entire year in which a snow day would have been called had school been in session, I witnessed young and old gather to do something unprecedented -- all for the love of kids!  During the most miserable weather conditions of the winter, our Cloverleaf family worked together to make education better for the children of our school district.

The same opportunity to make education better for the children of Cloverleaf is presenting itself right now. You have already heard Cloverleaf is on the ballot for a 6.9-mill operating levy this November. The Cloverleaf Pride Committee is working diligently to educate our community about the need for this levy to end the cycle of cuts in Cloverleaf Schools.

Like the move to the new elementary school, the Cloverleaf levy needs a workforce dedicated to the children of Cloverleaf.  Cloverleaf levy chairman John Gladden is calling for 300-500 volunteers needed to help protect education at Cloverleaf. There will be an informational meeting for levy volunteers at 7 p.m., Sept. 26, in the Cloverleaf High School cafeteria.

Please consider volunteering your time in one of many ways available for the campaign.  Contact the Cloverleaf Pride Committee at [email protected] or 330-732-LEVY to get signed up.   

Until next time … Go Colts!

Shared-services agreement is a money-saver

Sept. 15, 2012

In these tough financial times, we as a school district continue to find new and creative ways to stretch your hard-earned tax dollars. Sharing services with other school districts is one such way to save money.

You may have heard we recently entered into an agreement with Medina City Schools to share their treasurer. With approximately 10,500 students between the two districts, the Ohio Association of School Business Officials informs us our agreement with Medina is the largest of its kind in the state.

Yes, this agreement saves our district money immediately. In fact, when the salary, health care benefits and retirement of our previous treasurer are calculated, we are saving more than $50,000 just this year! This agreement, however, is about more than simply sharing a treasurer.

Once our new treasurer, Jim Hudson, has time to analyze and understand all the inner workings of our Cloverleaf operation, it will be our expectation that he take a comparative look at the operations of both the Cloverleaf and Medina school districts and determine areas in which we can save additional money. At that point, we will research additional shared service opportunities so we can maximize savings for our district.

With more than $6.1 million in cuts and cost savings measures in the last five years, we are doing all we can to trim costs while maintaining excellence in the classroom.

Until next time … Go Colts!

A message for our senior citizens

Sept. 1, 2012

Are you at least 62 years old?  Do you enjoy athletic contests, musical or drama productions?  If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, we have a special offer just for you.  To show our appreciation to our district senior citizens, we offer the V.I.P. Senior Citizen Colt Card free of charge.  This card entitles you to attend all regular-season home athletic events, dramatic and musical events presented by Cloverleaf Schools free of charge. 

To obtain a card, simply stop by any home sporting event ticket window or stop by our Community Information office (located in Cloverleaf High School).  We want our senior citizens to be able to see and enjoy our talented student athletes, musicians and thespians.  This V.I.P. Card is but a small token of our appreciation.

Another way we like to connect with our seniors is through our Coffee with the Superintendent gatherings. Please join us in the Rec Center lobby for a cup of coffee and an informal Q&A discussion about current news and events in Cloverleaf Schools. It's free!
Upcoming Coffee with the Superintendent dates are: Oct. 17, Dec. 19, March 20 and May 15. Time is 11:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. All Cloverleaf citizens are welcome -- no matter your age!

Until next time … Go Colts!

Welcome to Cloverleaf Schools

Aug. 25, 2012

It is my pleasure to welcome our students, staff, parents and community to the 2012-13 school year at Cloverleaf Local Schools!

It is my privilege to inform you student achievement continues to rise at Cloverleaf.  Two years ago, we had the highest achievement levels in the history of our school district.  Initial data provided by the state indicates we performed to even higher levels this last school year — a new “high water” mark in student achievement.  I look forward to sharing the final rating and other news about our student success when the data from the Ohio Department of Education is officially released later this month.

Like every year, 2012-13 promises to be another busy one at Cloverleaf.  With our first full year at the new elementary school building, the challenges of fiscal emergency,  as well as the November ballot issue, there is a great deal of information we desire for you as our residents to know about our school district.  I look forward to using this column and other media venues to communicate about much of the great work happening in our schools. 

Welcome to the 2012-13 school year.  It is a great day to be a Colt!

Until next time … Go Colts!

Nominate someone you know for a Cloverleaf Pride Award

April 14, 2012

Do you know of a Cloverleaf employee who has made a significant impact on your child? Do you know a community member who has volunteered tirelessly for Cloverleaf Schools for no other reason than his/her love of the district?

If you have answered “yes” to either of these questions, you may want to consider nominating this person for the Cloverleaf Pride Award.

The Cloverleaf Pride Award was established to recognize individuals who have provided exemplary service to the Cloverleaf Local School District. The award acknowledges the service of both a community member and a Cloverleaf employee each year based on the following criteria:

• Number of years of service
• Type of service
• Academic involvement
• Extracurricular involvement
• Specific incidents that make a candidate worthy of the award

A committee comprised of a cross-section of Cloverleaf employees and community members will be assembled to review the nominations to determine a community and employee winner of the award.

 If you would like to nominate someone for the Cloverleaf Pride Award, log on to our website at http://www.cloverleaflocal.org/ for more information. The nomination deadline is April 24.

Until next time … Go Colts!

Take time to say, "Thank you"

May 26, 2012


Dear Cloverleaf Class of 2012,


Have you ever noticed in a person’s obituary it never mentions how new their car was, how big their house was, or how much money they made? In the end, it is people and the relationships you develop with them that matter most.


Commencement is a time to look forward to a “new beginning” as you are commencing your life after Cloverleaf. I think it is also a time for reflection as you consider all the people who have mattered to you most during your 13-year educational journey to a high school diploma. I hope you take a second this weekend to say a simple “thank you” to a parent, friend, teacher or neighbor who may have helped you through a problem, offered an encouraging word, or just showed in some small way they cared about you.


Cloverleaf has given you the background to pursue whatever it is you desire in your life. Now, what you decide to do with it is entirely up to you, so choose well. Remember that no matter what you decide, you will always be a Cloverleaf Colt. Congratulations to you. I look forward to seeing you at your commencement ceremony tomorrow!


Until next time … Go Colts!


Fiscal Oversight Commission Timeline

May 8, 2012 

I know Cloverleaf’s Fiscal Emergency status weighs heavily on the hearts and minds of everyone in our district. We have received inquiries from many concerned parents about what this process is going to mean for student opportunities in Cloverleaf Schools.


In state receivership, the ultimate fiscal decision-making authority for our schools is relegated to the state through the assigned five-member Fiscal Oversight Commission. There are several milestone dates that may answer some questions regarding timelines:


  • April 23 and 26: The Cloverleaf Board of Education met to discuss a “menu” of potential cuts. The Board was directed to derive cuts to stop deficit spending in two years. These are cuts in addition to the combined $5 million in cuts over the last four years.
  • May 1: The Fiscal Oversight Commission met to discuss a rough draft of a fiscal recovery plan it is responsible to submit to the state. In this plan, cuts and future revenue sources (levy) are defined. The Cloverleaf Board of Education submitted a plan which cuts $800,000 next school year. The commission has directed the Cloverleaf Board to cut an additional $200,000 to $300,000.
  • May 15: The Cloverleaf Board of Education meets to discuss additional cuts for next year.
  • May 21: The Cloverleaf Board of Education passes a resolution recommending the final plan to the Fiscal Oversight Commission. This is a Fiscal Emergency procedure as directed by the state.
  • May 24: The Fiscal Oversight Commission votes to accept the final draft of Cloverleaf’s fiscal recovery plan.
  • June 6: Deadline for submission of the fiscal recovery plan to the state for approval by the Fiscal Oversight Commission.

I will let you know more about the plan in this column and other media outlets. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue through the Fiscal Emergency process.


Until next time … Go Colts!

Congratulations to Cloverleaf's Academic Challenge team

March 19, 2012


I hope you had an opportunity to watch the WEWS-TV 5 Academic Challenge show this past St. Patrick’s Day. If you did, you likely felt the same Cloverleaf pride I felt watching our students win the televised match against two other school districts. What you may not know is our Academic Challenge team takes part in similar competitions throughout the school year. The 2011-12 team is one of the most successful ever.


Aside from winning the WEWS Academic Challenge television show, the team also won the ONN Brain Game television program earlier this year.Cloverleaf is grateful to Westfield Insurance, which sponsors both high school quiz shows.


The team earned both the Summit County and Medina County Academic Challenge league championships as well — a feat accomplished for the first time in the history of our school district.


In addition, Cloverleaf competed in the Ohio History Bowl this year, which is the state qualifier for the National History Bowl. The team not only placed in the top division, but sophomore Brian Easterling and senior Sarah Winnicki each qualified for the individual National History Bee in Mount Vernon, Virginia. Sarah was among the top 10 in the state and Brian was the only sophomore in Ohio to qualify for the varsity division!


As in sports and music, there is always a great coach behind every great team. A special thank-you goes to Cloverleaf’s own Cameron Flint for his years of hard work and dedication to developing a world-class Academic Challenge program. Congratulations to Mr. Flint and the entire team for qualifying for the National Academic Challenge tournament in Washington D.C. this June.


Until next time … Go Colts!

Sports and Fiscal Emergency

Feb. 27, 2012

Because of our Fiscal Emergency status, there have been multiple rumors about the potential that Cloverleaf would eliminate all sports for the 2012-13 school year. As superintendent, I will not advocate for the elimination of the athletic program.


Aside from the obvious educational benefits of athletics, there is a huge financial loss to the school district for every student who leaves a district through open-enrollment to attend another public school because athletic opportunities are not available. Again, I will not advocate for the elimination of the athletic program.


Can the state Fiscal Commission – which is now overseeing Cloverleaf’s finances -- make us eliminate all sports? Technically, yes. However, I was informed by an Ohio Department of Education representative that of the 39 school districts that have been in Fiscal Emergency, none were forced to eliminate all sports. I could only speculate that once such a decision is researched, it is determined to be bad for students and bad for the budget. Why then, would a district do it?


Until next time … Go Colts!

New building Myth No. 3

Feb. 13, 2012

Today is the final column in a series of three about the most common “myths” associated with the new Cloverleaf Elementary School building.  Myth No. 3: “Architecturally, the four wings of the building extending outward like fingers on a hand are excessive.  Straight wings would have cost less money.”

Normally, straight wings would cost less money.  That is exactly why I asked that the original design include straight wings.  During this design phase, I learned there is a 36-inch high-pressure gas line that cuts diagonally across the property.  I was advised the gas line is not a safety concern for a school property, but did have implications for construction.

Although asphalt can be laid over the gas line and cars/buses can drive over the line, we were not permitted to construct the building over it in case any service ever needed to be performed on the line.  With the planned straight wings, we would have had to build one wing directly over the gas line.  I asked about moving the gas line and was told it would likely cost more than $1 million to do so.  Since spending that large amount of money could be avoided by tilting the wings, that is what we did.  Therefore, we actually saved money by tilting the wings outwardly.

Thank you to those of you who have shared your questions regarding the new building.  As I hope you can understand after my columns these last three weeks, every detail of this building was carefully planned to ensure we received the most benefit for our sales tax dollars. 

Until next time … Go Colts!

New building Myth No. 2

Feb. 6, 2012


Last week, I started a three-part series on the most common myths associated with the new elementary school. This week’s Myth No. 2: “School districts all over the state are constructing buildings they can’t afford to operate. Cloverleaf has now joined that crowd.”


Though it is no secret we are facing tough financial times in our school district, it is not because of the new elementary school. Since this building was constructed with sales tax dollars, not operations dollars, we are actually saving operations money because of the increased efficiencies of the new building!


Here are three of those efficiencies:

  • This building was designed for LEED accreditation (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Despite the fact the new building is air conditioned and the previous three elementary schools were not, LEED buildings are constructed to save as much as $100,000 per year on energy bills.
  • We now have one less bus route with the new school. That saves money on bus wear, fuel and driver compensation.
  • We will be achieving multiple efficiencies due to the “economy of scale” of combining grades PK-5 in one building. With three elementary schools, we used three gymnasiums for physical education, three art rooms, three music rooms, three cafeterias and three offices. With the new building we are running two physical education schedules in one gym (the gym divides in half), two art rooms, two music rooms, one cafeteria and one office. The net result is we have saved many thousands of dollars in operational and staffing expenses by combining into one building.

 I’m sure there are yet undiscovered ways of increasing our efficiency because of our new campus setting. To have a state-of-the-art building and save operations money is a double blessing to this school district. 


Until next time … Go Colts!

New building Myth No. 1

Jan. 31, 2012


One week ago, we held the “grand opening” ceremony for our new elementary school. With 600 people in attendance, it was an historic day in our district that no one who was there will soon forget.


Having had the privilege of being part of the new elementary school project since its earliest stages, I have had the opportunity to address numerous people about the new building. Understanding I don’t have a venue to address everyone about the building, I thought I would use this column as a forum for the next three weeks to address the three most prevalent “myths” that have been brought to my attention since the construction began.


Myth No. 1: The district used operating funds for this building, which has led to a declaration of “fiscal emergency” by the state.

I’m sure this myth is perpetuated by the fact the state auditor declared fiscal emergency the same week as our grand opening. No operations money was used for the construction of our elementary school! The new school is being funded by the Medina County 0.5 percent sales tax. Will we be using operations money to run the school, maintain and clean it? Absolutely. In fact, that will be the topic of next week’s column. 


Every time anybody shops in Medina County, whether a resident or not, he/she is helping to fund our new elementary school. I am grateful to work in the only county in the state in which this is possible. I look forward to sharing more information about our elementary school project in the next two weeks.


Until then, Go Colts!

You're invited to the grand opening of CES

Jan. 10, 2012


By the time you read this column, we will have already made our move to the new Cloverleaf Elementary School. I am overwhelmed by the support we have received from our community for the move. With more than 300 people helping us, the move is most definitely a celebration of our Cloverleaf community coming together and uniting all 10 communities it represents. It is a proud day for our school district and, more importantly, for the children of Cloverleaf.


Once again, I invite you to come to the new school and join the celebration by attending our Grand Opening Ceremony on Jan. 28 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. It will be yet another historic day for our district. It’s a great day to be a Colt!


Until next time, Go Colts!

Volunteers needed on moving day

Dec. 10, 2011

Do you or someone you know have a desire to help our school district with your time and talents? Do you desire to be part of Cloverleaf history? If so, we have a great opportunity for you. As you know, we will be transitioning from three elementary schools to one this January. To help save money and promote community pride in our schools, we are inviting you to help us move.

In order to accomplish this large task, we need teams of volunteers at our current three elementary schools as well as the new school. We will have moving trucks at all schools which will provide a continuous flow of boxes to the new school.

Our official move day is Jan. 13. Students in grades PK-12 do not have school that day. We plan to move from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you can’t help us the whole day, we certainly welcome you for any part of the day. If you would like to take part, please contact our community information coordinator at [email protected] or call 330-721-3521 to reserve yourself, your family or your organization. I look forward to seeing you and working with you on this historic day in Cloverleaf Local Schools.

Until next time, Go Colts!

Snow Day 101

Nov. 22, 2011

As winter weather sets in, I am often asked how a snow day is determined. The potential impact the decision has on student safety, childcare arrangements, parent work schedules, etc., is not taken lightly. Therefore, we use all the information available to us to make the best decision we can. Even trained meteorologists aren’t always accurate with weather predictions; however, we use their information and more to determine whether to call a snow day.

When snow is in the forecast, our transportation supervisor begins traveling the roads at 3:45 a.m. to assess conditions. At 4 a.m., I begin monitoring local radar as well as updated forecasts. At 5 a.m., I receive a status report from our transportation supervisor. If conditions warrant, I drive district roads at this time as well. I also communicate with other county superintendents about the status of snowfall in neighboring districts.

By 5:45 a.m., a decision is made to have school, delay school, or close school. If the decision is made to delay or close, students/parents will receive an AlertNow automated phone call and the local broadcast media are informed immediately. The information also is posted immediately on our district Web site. Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t always cooperate with our time schedule, which can cause delays in communication.

The end result is that with 119 square miles in our district, we do the best we can with the information we have available. Again, it is not a decision taken lightly. Our first concern is always the safety of Cloverleaf students. The worst part of determining a snow day is that no matter the decision made, it will be upsetting to some. That’s part of the job I don’t look forward to, but have come to accept.

Until next time … Go Colts!

Cloverleaf's Performance Index continues to climb

Nov. 19, 2011

The Ohio Department of Education recently has released student testing data that compares all districts in the state. The method used for comparison is the Performance Index score. The Performance Index is a snapshot of our combined student performance on state tests (Ohio Achievement and Graduation Tests). The scoring range is 40-120.

Cloverleaf’s district score for the 2010-11 school year is 100.1. I thought you may find it interesting to see the progress we have made:

History of the Cloverleaf Performance Index:

2010-11 100.1

2009-10 99.7

2008-09 98.3

2007-08 98.3

2006-07 98.6

2005-06 98.6

2004-05 98.6

2003-04 95.7

2002-03 93.2

Our 2010-11 Performance Index score places Cloverleaf 261stof 612 school districts in the state. Despite the financial challenges we face, we are going to do our very best to build on our successes and increase our state rank in the coming years.

Until next time … Go Colts!

Dr. Kubilus


Superintendent Dr. Daryl Kubilus Jr. 
Telephone: 330-302-0305




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