Saturday, November 05, 2011

Special Board meeting in Richmond Heights this Monday

The Richmond Heights school board majority — Josh Kaye, Bob Fox, and Aaron Burko —  has called yet another special Meeting of the Board for this Monday, November 7, at 8:00 p.m. for the stated  purpose of "items of personnel pertaining to the placement of an Interim Superintendent."

As one reader just inquired offline,  " This is like a bad dream! Where is this money for legal coming from?  And, what has the district had to do without to finance this fiasco?  Is anyone monitoring the impact on the kids and the classroom?"

Perhaps Richmond Heights citizens will begin to attend board meetings in greater numbers and demand answers to these questions.

Many top officials and civic mainstays proclaim that the Richmond Heights schools are a separate entity whose issues are unrelated to those of city governance. 
While this is legally accurate, Richmond Heights voters should realize that a city administration that is both entrenched and disengaged is a core part of the city's festering problems.

For the record, I tried numerous times this summer to meet with Richmond Heights mayor Daniel Ursu. He has not had the courtesy to respond to multiple calls or emails, and appeared frightened when I showed up at his city hall office one day following an early morning special school board meeting.

Not long after that, when I attempted to engage him in conversation outside city hall as I walked to another school board meeting, he literally clutched his belongings and scurried into the building as if he were fearful of assault.
Sometimes, if you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.

Friday, November 04, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Richmond Hts School Board Suspends Superintendent

The Richmond Heights School Board suspended Superintendent Linda T. Hardwick by a 3-2 vote in a special meeting held last night.

Unconfirmed reports suggest the suspension is pursuant to the investigation of an alleged theft of school district records, but some school observers are suggesting that the action relates to the board majority’s desire to terminate Dr. Hardwick’s contract before January 1, 2012 when a new school board will be installed.

Last week the Board fired clerk-typist Peggy Parker in another special meeting. The same board majority found Parker guilty of misappropriation of district property dishonesty, theft of confidential documents and emails, and insubordination. Parker, who reported to both the superintendent and the school treasurer Brenda Brcak, has filed complaints over her dismissal with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and the US Department of Education. She has not ruled out further legal action.

None of the three board members who voted to suspend Hardwick are on next week’s ballot. Board president Josh Kaye and Aaron Burko each have two years remaining, while the third Bob Fox chose not to stand for re-election.

Board members Linda Pliodzinskas and Bobby Jordan Jr. voted against the suspension. Pliodzinskas is seeking election to a third term while Jordan, who was appointed in March, is seeking voter approval to complete his term.

Several issues are roiling the Richmond Heights community at present. Two council members on the city council have challenged the tax increase placed on the ballot by their colleagues, pointing out serious lapses in the administration’s fiscal reporting as cited by state auditors.

Meanwhile, school officials await what are likely to be harsh findings from the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, based on complaints filed by school administrators, parents and students. Other investigations, by the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and the State Department of Education, are also pending.

The school board majority has authorized tens of thousands of dollars in legal expenses aimed at forcing out the superintendent and defending the charges that have piled up against them since early this year.

Calls and emails placed to Mr. Kaye and to Charles Tyler, Sr., the board’s attorney and a former board member himself, had not been returned as of post time.

Hardwick’s indefinite suspension is without pay. When contacted by The Real Deal she declined comment other than to say she was not present when the vote was taken and had not been officially notified of the Board’s action.

We will have a fuller report here before Monday rolls around.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Nonprofit Thursday [Barely!]

Our deep apologies for almost turning this week’s Nonprofit Thursday into Nonprofit Friday. Our cup was truly running over today as we went from one event to another.

We would not be doing justice to the experiences of the day if we tried to cram everything into a hasty report.

We can say that the plug we gave here last week to Ronald Ferguson’s appearance today was well worth the space. Dr. Ferguson spoke with a simple eloquence that could easily have camouflaged for the casual listener the deep truths of his talk about “Educational Excellence With Equity”. His presentation contained insights for parents, teachers, students, businesses, and the community at large.

We videotaped the majority of his presentation and will post it as soon as we can process it, by Monday at the latest. We will also post our comments on this City Club in the City event.
 • • •

WE APPRECIATE the response we got to last week’s premiere of Nonprofit Thursdays.  

Several of you responded promptly with news of upcoming events, appointments, and suggestions for future coverage. Keep all that nonprofit info coming to us here: NonprofitsATCUYAHOGANEWS.NET.


• Is your organization clueless when it comes to social and mobile media? What does our mobile society mean for the nonprofit sector? How do you start your organization’s mobile presence? How can you mesh your agency’s mobile presence into other marketing initiatives? These and other questions will be addressed at the Center for Community Solutions’ 11th annual Telling Your Story program for nonprofits and the media. The St. Luke’s Foundation co-sponsors this year’s program:  

“iPhone, iPad, iDon’t Know How to Connect with Our Organization’s Mobile Audience…”

WHEN: November 15 from 8am-Noon

WHERE: Center for Families and Children, 3955 Euclid Ave., (Free parking in adjacent lot; first-come, first-served)

PRESENTERS: Christina Klenotic, Vice President, Dix & Eaton, and Ann Poston, Marketing Manager, The Cleveland Orchestra

Lee Chilcote, Development News Editor, Writer, Freshwater Cleveland
Rick Jackson, Morning Edition Host, Reporter, WCPN / WVIZ ideastream
Lila Mills, Editor & Publisher, Greater University Circle Neighborhood Voice
Karl Turner, Deputy Metro Editor/Online, The Plain Dealer

COST: $50. Registration required. Click here to register 

Other Events:

WHAT: Benefit for the Sarah J. Harper Children's Library, a library in the Outhwaite Homes in the Central neighborhood that encourages and promotes reading, learning and positive avenues for self realization.
WHEN: Sunday, November 6th. Doors at 4pm. Fashion at 5pm
WHERE: The Masonic Temple Performing Arts Center, 3615 Euclid Avenue
CONTACT: For ticket information, please call Vernon Robinson at 216.534.8145 or Gabrielle Ross at 216.322.0011. 
Tickets are $50 per person.

• • •

DISCUSSION: Movement Building and the First Amendment

WHEN: Thursday, November 10 at 7PM

WHERE: Max Wohl Civil Liberties Center, 4506 Chester Ave, Cleveland 44103
WHO: The Ohio ACLU, members of the Occupy Movement, and constitutional and criminal defense attorneys.

N.B.: This event is free and open to the public. Free parking is available. To RSVP call 216.472.2220.

• • •


Need an Intern for the Summer?
Application Deadline: November 30, 2011
The Cleveland Foundation's Summer Internship Program is accepting applications from area nonprofits or governmental agencies until November 30, 2011. College students, recent graduates, and graduate students work full-time for an 11-week session during the summer.

The Cleveland Foundation provides funding to cover the intern’s stipend.

• The Cleveland Foundation is seeking nonprofit organizations in Northeast Ohio interested in receiving one or more pieces of modern art for use within their organization. The art works are from the extensive collection of the late Nancy L. and Frank H. Porter, and were bequeathed in 2003 as part of what was then the largest gift in the Foundation’s history.

There are of course some modest conditions, which you can find at along with pictures of the artwork and dimensions and descriptions of each piece.

Application materials are due by Nov. 7, 2011, to the Cleveland Foundation at:

Contact: Kara Copeland, program officer [216.615.7156;] for questions regarding the Porter Fund, specific pieces of artwork, or the overall application process.

Nicole M. Bell to Executive Director, The Presidents’ Council Foundation.
Donna Dabb to Director, Cuyahoga Small Business Development Center at the Urban League of Greater Cleveland.

Tip of the week
Does your public relations plan coincide with the overall strategic plan of your organization? Do you have a public relations plan? Do you have a strategic plan?
You can find tips on how to improve your agency’s visibility and raise more donor dollars in this article:

Send your Nonprofit Thursday info to:

Deadline for consideration is Fridays at 3pm.
• • •

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Re-districting Drama is High Stakes Battle for More than Seats

Within hours of news reports citing GOP sources that a deal was near to peel off black House Democrats for a revised congressional map, State Rep. Sandra Williams, a Cleveland Democrat who heads the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, released a statement denying that any such deal has been reached and reaffirming her group’s solidarity with House Democrats and the Democratic Party.

Williams’ statement:

“There has been no agreement between members of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus and anyone on the Republican side on new congressional district lines. …The GOP so far is only offering minor tweaks to district lines without fundamentally changing the huge disparity between Republican and Democratic majority seats. This status quo is unacceptable to us, House Democrats and the Democratic Party as a whole. However, discussions are ongoing to achieve a workable map.”

My oh my.

Politics these days has become a high stakes game.  Or, as the wags put it, politics ain’t beanbag.

The posturing going on at the statehouse is real combat as Republicans work to adjust on the fly to yet another overreach.  If we look at the political landscape not just in Ohio but all across the land in 2011, there has been a well-organized, well-funded coordinated effort to restrict American democracy and full participation therein. And you don’t have to be a liberal loving, Wall Street-hating, union-worshiping, blindly partisan Democrat peacenik to see it.

Discouraging voters by restricting access to early voting; attacking public unions to eviscerate virtually the only force capable in the public arena of going toe-to-toe the most egregious excesses unbridled corporate desire; rigging voting districts to ensure that people can vote essentially by packing up and moving: this is what the GOP-Tea Party has ramped up since the last presidential election in preparation for the next presidential election, now just twelve months away.

No less an authority than the Federal Reserve provides evidence that since 2007, the collective net worth of Americans has fallen about $5.5 trillion [$5,500,000,000,000.00], or more than 8.6 percent. Over 85% of that decline is in real estate, which has lost $4.7 trillion in value, or 22 percent, since 2007.

Now we already know that those at the top have seen their wealth increase astronomically over the past two decades. So who is seeing that loss at home, gentle readers? All the rest of us, the 80 to 90 percent of the country who need to be seeking out and shoring up allies of every sort, because if the conservatives’ coordinated national effort succeeds, we’ll be in for more of the same.

Your representatives in Columbus know this, and you should let them know that you do as well and that they needn’t come home if they sell out.

• • •

Quick Bits: Today marks the anniversary of the debut of Ebony magazine in 1945.
The US tested the first hydrogen bomb on November 1, 1952.