By Jeff Gallatin
Newly elected Bay Village school board President Michael Caputo is ready to build on the already strong foundation residents and the district have set up for city schools.
After being elected school board president at Monday’s organizational meeting, Caputo said an immediate goal is to make sure the planning and work on the capital improvement plans for the district move ahead efficiently. Caputo served as vice president in 2012 while Gayatry Jacob-Mosier was the school board president.
“Obviously, with the passage of the capital improvements levy last year,one of our major goals will be to make sure the planning and preparation for that work is done properly,” Caputo said. “The voters gave us a strong vote of confidence, and it’s important for us to make sure that we continue to make sure the citizens know their confidence in us was well-placed, and that the improvements will help the district move forward.”
Bay Village voters in November approved the 1.96-mill bond levy, which will raise about $16.9 million, by a margin of approximately 60 to 40 percent. The levy improvement plan focused on renovating and improving district facilities. The planned improvements focus on upgrading district educational buildings to better handle 21st-century technology. It also would upgrade heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems and add facilities to make the integration of all-day kindergarten into the district easier.
Caputo, who during the budget discussions was an advocate of keeping the levy costs as low as possible, said the board will maintain its overall policy of reviewing programs closely.
“We have a really great board which works well together and takes the time to examine issues closely,” he said. “One of the things which I appreciate is that if there is a need to change something or turn it upside down and look at it, the board is willing to do that. It’s things like that as well as the already strong educational programs which has allowed the district to provide a quality education for so many years. That is certainly something which I would expect the board working together with the district administration and staff to do everything they can to continue.”
Noting the state of Ohio’s recent move toward replacing the high school graduation test, Caputo, who is director of government affairs for McDonald Hopkins law firm, said the board will continue to be aware of state education policies and budget matters and how they affect the district.
“Obviously we can’t control what the state does in some areas,” he said, “but we do stay in touch with what’s going on. We’ll see what they are doing and make sure the district does what it has to (to) make sure the education process for our students go forward.”
Caputo, who prior to joining the board of education served on the Bay Village Planning Commission for the city, said he also intends to keep close ties with the city government and other groups that work closely with the school district.
“I will always want to make sure that we foster and maintain a close working relationship with the city,” he said. “It’s important because we have areas where we have to work together with the city or others to make sure the proper services are provided.”
District Superintendent Clint Keener lauded the choice of Caputo for board president.
“As expected when he was elected several years ago, Mr. Caputo has proven to be a major asset for the school district,” Keener said. “We appreciate his enthusiasm as well as his experience and knowledge in the areas of government.”