LORAIN — The school district’s CEO gave a number of updates about his plan during a presentation to the community Thursday at South Lorain Public Library.
One update to the plan to improve the district includes taking bids to tear down Southview Middle School and using the property for recreation or athletic fields. The cost of maintaining the property has been $70,000 a year, CEO David Hardy said, and removing it could help lower costs.
Moving forward, he said he wanted to give a set of changes to the district’s staff on every level of the five commitments to improve the district.
Hardy explained that these details aren’t set in stone and that he awaits community input before finalizing the next steps of the plan, encouraging questions before, during and after the meeting.
“More than anything else, I’m hoping (attendees) take away a level of transparency that they needed and wanted and feel that they had an avenue to communicate what is still needed to push us forward,” he said.
The meeting also covered important concerns the community has voiced since the last meeting, including staff changes. One of the changes is personnel cuts to the administrative staff as well as additions and replacements for administration officers, with “chiefs” with different roles.
Additionally, there will be other personnel cuts as a number of positions will be reorganized over the next six months, but it’s not yet certain how many or whom. This will also pass on savings that will make sure staff restructuring doesn’t increase costs, Hardy said. The district will also use the grants they receive to repurpose and fund the new positions, he said.
“I know there has been concern around just bringing 100 people into this district that no one has ever seen before, but that’s just not who I am,” Hardy said.
Some parents concerned about the staff ch+anges asked about new staff members who may not know Lorain as well. Hardy said he had an obligation to the students to get what they need to be successful, and that may come with difficult choices.
“They might have their heart in the right place but if the results don’t match, I’ve got to get the right people and I don’t know how else to say that,” he said.
Monica Snipes, a mother of a Lorain High School junior, said she is excited for the new restructuring and the revamping Hardy spoke about. She said she also knows about people’s concerns with the drastic changes Hardy is bringing, saying that they are all nervous but hopeful.
“People are nervous with that consistent feeling of ‘this has happened before,’ ‘people have said this before and it’s fallen through,’ but my whole vision and thought about it is that you have to be the change you want to see,” she said. “So if we want him to be successful, then we need to also change our way of thinking.”
By Jan. 31, Hardy hopes to solidify more details of the five commitments, implement the next phases in his improvement plan by Feb. 8, and then finalize the budget and identify the new district “chiefs” by Feb. 28.
The information and the presentation from the town hall meeting will be available on www.lorainschools.org by the end of the week, Hardy said.