Education

A photo of the Kent campus.
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY

A Kent State student has filed a class action lawsuit against the university for not fully refunding tuition and fees after in-person classes were canceled in spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The complaint, filed June 17 by junior finance major Caitlyn Waitt in the Ohio Court of Claims, states the university violated its contract with students by not reimbursing them for tuition and mandatory fees despite canceling face-to-face classes.

The state’s largest teachers’ union says schools in areas where coronavirus poses a threat should plan to start online this fall. 

University of Akron
Mark Arehart / WKSU

The University of Akron is facing an August 3 deadline for contract negotiations with the professor’s union.  If the vote fails, the deal goes to arbitration for a final ruling.  The two sides are at odds after more than 170 staff were laid off, including nearly 100 union workers.  We spoke with the head of both sides: university president Gary Miller and union president Pam Schulze. 

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy Devos came to a Columbus suburb to talk about school choice. And some local elected officials are miffed that they weren’t even aware of it until after the fact.

University of Akron
Mark Arehart / WKSU

The University of Akron announced the formation of a task force to review athletics spending. This comes just a week after trustees cut 178 jobs, including 96 union faculty. And as the union threatens not to approve contract concessions by an Aug. 3 deadline.

A photo of Patricia Shipe.
AKRON SCHOOLS / YOUTUBE

One of the region’s largest school districts is considering making a big change about fall instruction. Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James said Monday the district may need to look at starting the school year entirely remote, citing concern about the rise in coronavirus cases.

photo of Akron Public Schools headquarters
AKRON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

It’s been eight years since Akron Public Schools passed a levy, making a new one a necessity even without the financial pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a special meeting on Monday, the board of education took the first step toward putting a levy on the November ballot. The board unanimously approved three resolutions that will allow Chief Financial Officer Ryan Pendleton to develop projections for how much the levy will cost citizens based on three different millages—6.9, 7.9 and 8.9.

Central State University is launching a technology education program and will serve as a regional hub for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across the Midwest.

University of Akron
The University of Akron

The University of Akron Board of Trustees on Wednesday unanimously approved a measure to reduce 178 union and nonunion faculty and staff positions.

Facing an estimated $65 million shortfall, the university expects to save $16.4 million through the mass layoff, which will begin in two weeks.

University President Gary Miller told trustees the cuts are needed to sustain the university in the future.

a photo of the University of Akron polymer building
JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

The University of Akron is undergoing unprecedented challenges as it struggles to close a $65 million budget gap.

Its response includes a radical redesign of the school’s academic structure.

What will it mean for the future of Akron’s flagship polymer program?

photo of Dolli Quattrocchi-Gold
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

The faculty union at the University of Akron rallied over the weekend to ask for support of what they feel should be the school’s core mission: education. They’re concerned about efforts to plug a $65 million budget shortfall that could deeply impact teaching positions. And they argue that the university spends too much on athletics.

A photo of the Kent campus.
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY

This week the Trump administration announced that international students must take an in person class in the fall, or they will have to leave the United States. 

With protests shining a light on deeply rooted racial inequities, school leaders are being asked to be on the lookout for racial trauma when students return to class.

Kent Roosevelt High School
Creative Commons

A local school librarian who’s won a national award for her work, will use the money to buy more books for the programs she started at Kent Roosevelt High School.

Media Specialist Jennifer Flaherty plans to split the $10,000 prize between Read Woke and Rough Riders Read.

A group of faculty members at the University of Dayton are collecting surveys from UD employees to see how concerned they are about the campus reopening — and the risk of catching the coronavirus at work.

More than 250 UD employees have responded to the survey. Fewer than 30 percent say they feel safe returning to campus in the fall.

Parents of K-12 students in Ohio who receive free or reduced school meals will soon see a Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer – or P-EBT – card in the mail.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is sending the P-EBT cards to make up for the 53 days of school breakfasts and lunches students missed out on when the state’s public schools went virtual in March.

Families will receive one card for every student in the free meals program. Each card will have $302 or $231, depending on when the student enrolled in the program.

A 2019-2020 end-of-school-year survey from Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) found some families struggled to adapt to remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic, revealing big differences in success based on a student’s grade level, access to technology and family income.

The survey asked families if they could access the remote learning resources provided by CMSD or had to rely on paper copies of assignments sent to their homes. About 45 percent of students said they could access the online resources “almost all of the time,” said CMSD CEO Eric Gordon.

A photo of Akron's reopen and recover graphic.
AKRON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Akron school leaders say a plan it’s developed for reopening this fall involved input from across the district. The school board got a first look at the plan this week. More than 140 teachers, parents, community members and school principals collaborated on its creation.

School districts around the state are preparing for what the next academic year will look like for students, teachers, and staff. But administrators say they're waiting for the state to give them guidelines before they can put those plans into action.

Cleveland State University (CSU) will offer approximately 1,300 classes to students this fall, with more than 50 percent of them being taught in-person at the Downtown campus.

Classes taught on campus will be limited to 30 students and some will be moved to bigger areas to accommodate social distancing. Remaining classes will be taught online.

CSU President Harlan Sands called it an “aggressive” re-opening plan.

Most schools say they plan to restart learning in two months but a coalition of school administrators and teachers from the state's largest city school districts say they're waiting on a slew of decisions from Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Education ranging from funding to operations.

A growing number of Northeast Ohio school districts have joined a coalition planning to take the state to court over the controversial private school voucher program, EdChoice.  

The school boards of Cleveland Heights-University Heights, Canton, Crestview Local and Richmond Heights all recently passed resolutions to join the coalition, newly named “Vouchers Hurt Ohio.”

Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon, as part of a coalition of 61 superintendents from large urban school districts around the country, asked Congress for $200 billion in federal funding Monday, testifying at a virtual hearing of the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee.

The House recently passed the HEROES Act, a coronavirus relief package that includes approximately $58 billion dollars to help K-12 schools offset coronavirus related impacts. Gordon called it “a good start,” but said more is needed.

a photo of St. Thomas Aquinas School
GOOGLE EARTH

Two Cleveland Catholic elementary schools are being saved from closure by a management organization that has successfully operated seven similar schools in New York City. Partnership Schools will take over operation of the two schools next month. 

Partnership Schools assistant superintendent Christian Dallavais says Archbishop Lyke and St. Thomas Aquinas, both K-8 schools, fit their mission.

A photo of Akron Stem Esports team
JEFF CARANNA / AKRON STEM HIGH SCHOOL

Kent State and the University of Akron are among a dozen founding members of a new conference for esports. The Mid-American Athletic Conference (MAC) has created the Esports Collegiate Conference to organize competitions beginning next school year. The conference will operate independently of the MAC.  

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