(Plain Press, July 2014) After a series of Facilities Plan Open Houses where residents and stakeholders were asked to rank various scenarios in their school’s cluster, the Cleveland School Board met for three hours, on Monday June 23rd, to discuss various options and vote to approve a draft of a facilities plan extension at its Tuesday, June 24th, meeting held at Clark School.
The draft plan, presented by the school administration and approved by the Board of Education, seems to have heeded at least some suggestions by residents and stakeholders. Supporters of Paul Dunbar School can heave a sigh of relief as the draft plan calls for maintaining the school as a neighborhood K-8 school. That wish was clearly stated at the school’s open house where stakeholders filled a sheet saying they didn’t think it was a good idea for students, at the newly constructed school, to be moved to Scranton and Orchard schools. Parents were particularly concerned about students crossing W. 25th to go to Scranton School.
The sparing of Dunbar School also had ramifications that saved a lot of other students from being moved around to fit into “new school” seats. The scenario rejected by Dunbar parents called for the “Newcomers Academy” at Thomas Jefferson to be moved to Dunbar and students from Luis Munoz Marin to be bused to Thomas Jefferson. The draft plan approved by the Board of Education now calls for these buildings to continue in their current status. It calls for a review of both Scranton and Luis Munoz Marin schools to determine refresh/update needs.
The fate of two schools in the Ohio City and Tremont clusters remains undetermined — that of the Garrett Morgan Building and the Tremont School Building. Scenarios for the Garrett Morgan building include having the building serve as a site for a West Side high school, moving New Tech West and the Garrett Morgan High School program to the Carl F. Shuler building, using the site as swing space during the construction of a West Side High School and exploring the sale of the property when it is determined the site is no longer needed by the School District. At Tremont Montessori the choices are maintaining the building or building a replacement building on the same site.
In the Clark-Fulton-Stockyards Cluster the plan calls for rebuilding Clark School on the existing site, while moving students to a nearby school during construction. Plans call for Walton school to be maintained while considering transitioning students to nearby schools due to the poor condition of the building. Plans call for Lincoln West to be maintained while studying how to configure the building to serve 1,000 students.
In the Detroit-Shoreway-Cudell-Edgewater cluster plans call for H. Barbara Booker to be rebuilt on the current site while students move to a swing site. Waverly School would be rebuilt on the same site to accommodate students from both Waverly and Watterson-Lake. Plans call for Watterson-Lake to be closed and the site to be sold.
Plans call for the rebuilding of Marion Seltzer on the current site. Gallagher, Luis Agassiz will get refreshed. Wilbur Wright will see additional students transition to it over a several year period from McKinley School in the Kamm’s Bellaire Puritas cluster.
The Old Max Hayes High School will serve as a possible site for a new West Side high school or be used to swap land for another site for the proposed high school. The new Max Hayes High School is under construction and scheduled to open in 2015.
In the Kamm’s-Bellaire-Puritas cluster, as mentioned previously, McKinley will be closed and students will transition to Wilbur Wright. Brooklawn School will serve as temporary home this coming school year for the Bard College Program.
In the Old Brooklyn-Brooklyn Centre Cluster, plans call for the replacement of Denison School on its present site with students being relocated to Charles Mooney during construction. Plans call for using Mooney as a swing site and then eventually transitioning students to other sites and closing the building. Plans also call for building a replacement for William Rainey harper on the current site.
The district plans to vote later this summer on whether to place an extension of the bond issue on the November ballot to fund the facilities plan. The State of Ohio will match on a two to one basis dollars devoted to new construction if the district can show the seats are needed. The Bond Accountability Commission has criticized the district for overbuilding in some neighborhoods and not having enough new seats in other neighborhoods. The district has countered that argument, saying stakeholders in those neighborhoods wanted to keep historic buildings. In order to maintain older buildings the district must spend dollars that are not matched by the state. The Bond Accountability Commission has recommended that at least a half mill of any new bond issue be devoted to maintenance to make this possible.