Five residents have filed petitions with the Summit County Board of Elections seeking election to three seats on the Revere Board of Education. Board members are paid $125 per meeting with a maximum of 24 meetings per year. They are not eligible for fringe benefits.
The Richfield Times asked each candidate to supply a photo, their bio and answers to four questions. Their answers were limited to a total of 275 words. Following are the responses of Kasha Brackett, Claudia Mendat Hower, Natalie Rainey, Diana Sabitsch and Courtney Stein.
Following are the candidates’ photos, short bios and their unedited answers to four questions. Their answers were limited to a total of 275 words. Following are the reponses of Kasha Brackett, Claudia Mendat Hower, Natalie Rainey, Diana Sabitsch and Courtney Stein.
1. What are the ramifications to Revere of Ohio changing the responsibilities of the state board of education?
Brackett: Most of the responsibilities of the state board have been removed including education standards, curriculum decisions, state testing requirements and accountability measures. Authority over these decisions has been shifted from the elected members of the state board to the governor appointed position of the director of education and workforce. We do not yet know the full impact these changes will have on Revere. However, Ohio is a local control state meaning local boards have final say in what is taught in classrooms, book selection and hiring teachers.
Hower: The transition of changes to the state board and department of education will take place in October. Some responsibilities will not change. It is too early to tell all of the changes that will occur. Regardless, Revere will have to comply with Ohio Revised Code and state mandates.
Rainey: With the new department just launching in October, it’s difficult to speculate what the long-term effects will be. I’m optimistic that Revere will continue to have the opportunity to make decisions tailored to our district’s needs.
Sabitsch: The first week of Oct. the name change for the Dept. of Education will be Dept. of Education and Workforce which will be reporting to the governor. A new department will be established known as Dept. of Children and Youth. The current roles of the dept. of education will be shared with this department. There will be a state superintendent for the state board and a director appointed by the governor to the new dept. Currently the roles and duties are being worked out among the departments and the appointments for the two departments will be finished by Nov. This is a new approach and time will tell how local districts are affected. There may be many changes or very few, it will remain to be seen.
Stein: It is difficult to know, as it is a recent change and doesn’t take effect until October. Because the governor will now appoint the director of the Department of Education and Workforce, it reinforces the importance of preserving local control to ensure that changes don’t fluctuate with each gubernatorial race. I will advocate for the best interest of the students in our Revere community.
2. Can you propose a solution for the shortage of Revere bus drivers?
Brackett: Revere must pay competitive wages, spotlight the low cost district healthcare, offer paid training, and provide sign-on and referral bonuses. There should be a focus on expanding the pool of candidates to include new retirees, parents of Revere students, and possibly creating a program at CVCC to train new drivers. Finally, we must have and enforce a policy regarding bus discipline.
Hower: The district has conducted an aggressive marketing campaign to recruit drivers. The most productive solutions were to allow employees to hold two positions, i.e. driver and aide, and to work either the AM or PM shift. Many have taken advantage of these opportunities. We need to continue to address the shortage and work with our legislators to create a more streamlined and efficient system to train drivers and obtain CDLs without compromising our students’ safety.
Rainey: I have met with individuals from our transportation department, and it’s critical that we do all we can to support them. Reinstating dual positions was an imperative first step as the district competes with companies such as Amazon and UPS for drivers. As a board member, I would ask our administration to explore additional creative ways to increase benefits for bus drivers and expand recruitment efforts.
Sabitsch: I believe the employment of drivers has been an ongoing problem for us and all districts. We have run full-page ads, offered benefits for dual positions and have been flexible with hours and increased pay. We have adjusted contract language to add dual roles back in which had been changed. This is a challenging position and those that are qualified are the best hard workers.
Stein: Revere needs to continue to be creative in our approach to entice drivers to join our team. Offering competitive pay, incentives for attendance goals and/or particular lengths of service and considering ways to provide scheduling that is more appealing should be considered. Bus transportation is necessary for our families and we need to ensure that we are providing it both safely and consistently.
3. Do you think Revere does enough to control vaping on school property?
Brackett: Revere should adopt a comprehensive approach to combat vaping. Beyond installation of bathroom detectors, we need a strong no-vaping policy with clear consistent consequences. Recognizing vaping is an addiction underscores the importance of prioritizing a tobacco education programs over punitive consequences like suspensions. This approach is shown to lessen use and improve student grades and mental/physical well-being.
Hower: This is a national problem. Revere has been very proactive having tried different techniques, including detectors and more staff presence. We need to continue to educate families and work with legislators to pass legislation to help curb usage.
Rainey: Adolescent vaping has become pervasive nationwide. As a board member, I would advocate for additional deterrents and tobacco education programs, expanding upon Revere’s current policy allowing students to shorten their suspension if they undergo a nicotine cessation program. It’s important to hear from families and staff about this topic as well. We should analyze these efforts with the people on the front line to decide where we put our resources and how to foster a culture in which students don’t want to participate in behaviors like vaping.
Sabitsch: We have faced issues of smoking, drinking, drugs and now vaping. We currently have detectors in the restrooms. We rely on the staff to be aware. We ask for “see something, say something.” When it is found out that use has taken place in the buildings or grounds, full consequences should be applied.
Stein: Vaping is a serious and complex problem. Our students need to understand that vaping will not be tolerated on school property but simply punishing offenders without educating them on the dangers, will unlikely be successful. Partnering with our Revere families, we need to change the culture that makes vaping an issue and help our students make decisions that are best for their health and academic success.
4. Do you believe the ratio of instructional and free time is appropriate for students and teachers?
Brackett: The ratio of instructional to free time varies across Revere’s different buildings and departments. Overall, based on my experience as a Revere educator and parent, our district and schools are diligent in maximizing the efficiency of schedules. Maintaining a good balance that preserves core instructional time, allows for time to decompress, and doesn’t burden teachers/students with too many required additions like assemblies, class parties, pep rallies is key.
Hower: Administrators and staff work collaboratively to create schedules that meet the needs of Revere students and staff in each of our buildings. At RHS, many students are heavily involved in extracurriculars, jobs and other after school obligations. Built in study time during the school day helps relieve stress and allows students to succeed. Students and parents need to balance time yet take advantage of the many offerings that each school provides. Our academic structure is successful as the 2023 U.S. New & World Report has RHS moving up in rank to 23rd in Ohio and Revere has improved its Ohio Performance Index score to 103.7.
Rainey: I think it’s important to answer this complex question with facts and data. We need to ask if our performance data demonstrates that students are academically pushed with a rigorous curriculum that makes them better. I then think you need to ask our teachers if they feel they have enough planning and professional development time. This time is crucial in terms of vertically aligning strategies and the delivery of content. Answering these questions will provide the information necessary to make informed decisions about this ratio.
Sabitsch: I believe our current scheduling works to benefit our staff and students. It allows our staff to have time for themselves and time to work with students needing a little extra.
Stein: Having taught first and second grade for six years, I understand the importance of allowing teachers time to plan collaboratively with their peers to ensure the content being taught meets state standards and community expectations. I also understand that as a district, we need to consistently monitor our progress and performance to ensure that we maintain our high standings in the state as a district of academic excellence. ∞
Assistant for Bath Township
Claudia Mendat Hower
Occupation: I hold a
B.A. and Law Degree;
stay-at-home Mom, volunteer;
Occupation: Sales and
Development for Engage
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