Four years ago, Sharon Broz and Kathryn Garvey voiced to a standing-room only audience the reasons they were running for the Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools Board of Education. On Sept. 24 in the atrium at Hamlet, Mrs. Broz read the list of accomplishments at the district that the pair had a hand in over the course of their terms.
Some of those accomplishments included the $29 million renovation and expansion of the Chagrin Falls Intermediate School, which Mrs. Broz said finished on time and under budget, partially thanks to the $600,000 grant the district was able to secure from the state. The school opened its doors in August after the two-year project.
Mrs. Broz said security increased at the district due to hiring a school resource officer and installing more secure entrances. A capital planning committee led by Mrs. Garvey was established to plan the district’s budget and facility maintenance and improvement, according to Mrs. Broz. Mrs. Broz added that she was most excited about the school’s ranking as third in the state for performance this year, which came as a result of some of the work she and Mrs. Garvey had overseen on the board.
Mrs. Broz and Mrs. Garvey are running unopposed for the two available seats on the Board of Education, and emphasized their desire to hear from the audience members at the “Meet the Candidates” night.
“We really do want to hear from you,” said Mrs. Garvey after Mrs. Broz read their opening statement. “Being transparent and being available to you is very important to both of us.”
One question from the audience was whether the state’s method of rating schools through student performance was fair. Mrs. Garvey said that there’s no perfect way to measure schools, and that the state is doing what it can to provide some type of consistent measure so that citizens are able to compare one school district to another.
“I do value the state report card,” Mrs. Broz added. “It provides valuable feedback to us as a district. The improvement in rankings that I spoke about earlier came from real changes in the classroom about how we teach our kids.”
According to Mrs. Broz, the areas the district scored lower on in the past often aligned with feedback and concerns from parents as well.
Another question from the audience addressed the areas that the district may still need to improve on. Mrs. Broz responded that she hopes the district will continue to innovate, but at a pace that is comfortable and helpful to the students and teachers. This would include piloting programs on a small level and assessing results before making the programs districtwide.
Mrs. Garvey said that fiscal efficiencies and constraints continue to be sought at the district.
“As we’re embarking upon the strategic plan, one of the district goals for this year is to look for cost efficiencies while maximizing student achievement,” Mrs. Garvey explained. “It’s a joint goal and it’s very intentional because we want to look for where we’re getting a return on investment, what is really having an impact on our kids.”
Mrs. Garvey and Mrs. Broz also said that future facility improvements are now included in the district’s master plan. For the near future, many projects will simply be maintaining facilities, though that may still be costly, according to Mrs. Garvey.
“There isn’t one big project looming. There are lots of little projects and they’re throughout the district with the high school and at Gurney [Elementary],” Mrs. Garvey explained.
Mrs. Broz closed by thanking the community for their continued support of the schools, as that support has helped the administration make the district the excellent place it is to educate students.