(Plain Press, November 2014) Issue 4 on the November 4th Ballot asks Cleveland voters to extend the bond issue originally passed by Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) voters in 2001. Since Issue 4 is a renewal, the district stresses it will not raise taxes. The CMSD notes that the bond issue will cost the owner of a $50,000 home $44.10 per year.
Passage of Issue 4 will allow the CMSD to implement the plan the Facilities Master Plan that the Cleveland Board of Education passed at its June 24, 2014 Board Meeting. To aid those who wish to check on their child’s school or their neighborhood school to see what the district proposes can visit the Facilities Master Plan Cluster Map on the school district’s website at: www.clevelandmetroschools.org/page/5895. The map will allow you to click on the cluster your school is in and then on the individual school to get a brief summary of what will happen at the school, or what options for the school are being considered in cases where multiple options are still in play.
According to the CMSD, citywide, the passage of Issue 4 will allow for the construction of 20 to 22 new schools and the refurbishing of 20-23 schools. Issue 4 authorizes the CMSD to raise $200 million through the sale of bonds for the construction of new buildings and substantial rehab of existing buildings. The state will match funds used for new and substantial rehabilitation with $2 for every dollar the district raises if the proposed construction fits the State of Ohio’s school construction criterion.
In addition to the state’s matching funds, at the September 15th meeting of the Cleveland Transformation Alliance it was announced that all new schools will be required to have two pre-school classrooms and that Ohio is applying for federal Race to the Top dollars to help fund preschool expansion.
Issue 4 also calls for a half mill of property tax to be dedicated to maintenance – so even if your neighborhood school is not slated for a new building, funds from the maintenance fund can be used to refresh and update the building. This half mill is expected to raise $2.5 million per year for the district’s maintenance fund.
In seeking support for the bond issue, the Board of Education notes that it has adopted the City of Cleveland Community Benefits Agreement to guide future construction. The agreement prioritizes the hiring of city residents, minorities, females and small businesses on its construction projects. The district also promises that the independent Bond Accountability Commission, set up to monitor the bond issue in 2001, would continue to monitor the use of bond funds.
West Side Clusters
For those who don’t have access to a computer to check on plans for the schools on the CMSD Facilities Master Plan Cluster Map what follows is a brief summary of some of the plans for building new or refurbishing existing schools in clusters which serve parts of the Plain Press readership area.
Cluster 1: Kamm’s Corner/Bellaire Puritas:
The Cluster One Map shows 13 school buildings. Four of those buildings are new Pre-K-8 buildings built as a result of the 2001 bond issue: Riverside, Artemus Ward, Garfield and Robinson G. Jones.
The facilities plan calls for working with the community to accommodate future growth at Valley View Boys Leadership Academy and Douglas MacArthur Girls Leadership Academy.
The plan calls for building a replacement Newton D. Baker on its current site, and updating the Carl B. Schuler and Clara Westropp school buildings.
The CMSD’s updated facilities plan calls for students from McKinley to transition over a number of years to Wilbur Wright in Cluster II. McKinley will then be closed and demolished.
The Carl F. Schuler building, which currently is housing John Marshall High School students while they await the opening of their new school, will be refreshed and updated and maintained at its current location.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, which is currently housing John Marshall High School’s 9th grade students will serve as a swing space after the students move to John Marshall next school year. After its use as swing space, plans call for it to be closed and demolished.
The new John Marshall High School is scheduled to open next school year.
The Brooklawn building will continue to house the new Bard College program at least through the end of the 2014-15 school year.
Cluster two: Detroit Shoreway, Cudell, Edgewater and West Boulevard (and Northwestern part of Stockyard neighborhood):
The Cluster Two Map currently shows 12 schools (including both the new and old Max Hayes High Schools).
As was indicated in the Cluster 1 report, Wilbur Wright will gradually absorb students from McKinley school in Cluster 1. According to the Bond Accountability Commission’s enrollment report in January of 2014 Wilbur Wright had 398 students and McKinley had 265 students. The Wilbur Wright building has the capacity to hold 720 students. The district’s plan is to upgrade and refresh the facility to accommodate the new students.
This cluster currently has one new building, the Almira PreK-8 building. It has one renovated building, Luisa May Alcott. The new Max Hayes High School on Walworth in the Stockyard neighborhood will open in 2015.
If voters approve Issue 4, the facilities plan calls for building three new replacement schools for H. Barbara Booker, Marion C. Selzer and Waverly on their current sites. Students will be moved to swing sites during construction.
Watterson Lake School will be closed and sold for redevelopment. Watterson Lake students will transition to other schools or attend the new Waverly school when it is completed.
Joseph Gallagher and Louis Agassiz schools will be refreshed and updated.
The fate of the current Max Hayes High School is undecided. The summary for the site gives two options – exploring building another high school on the site, or swapping the land for another site for a high school.
Halle School, which is currently empty, will serve as a swing site.
Cluster Three: Ohio City and Tremont:
Cluster Three Facilities Map shows seven schools. Three of the schools are new: Buhrer Dual Language School, Orchard and Dunbar.
Garrett Morgan-School of Science has four options listed in the facilities plan, though they look more like a series of steps leading to the sale of the building: The first is to explore using the site or the current building for a new west side high school. The second option is to Move New Tech West and the Garrett Morgan School of Science to Carl F. Shuler in Cluster one. The third option is to use the building as a swing site during construction of a new west side high school. The fourth option says, “When planning is completed, if it is determined that this building and possibly the adjoining Kentucky building are no longer needed as schools, then consideration should be given to exploring a sale of the property.” Kentucky school building, which is on the same property as Garrett Morgan and shares a boiler system, currently houses Near West Intergenerational School, a charter school.
The facilities plan calls for Tremont Montessori School to continue as a PreK-8 Montessori school. Two options are listed in the district’s facilities plan. The first option is to maintain the building and determine the appropriate scope of work to continue to use it as a school. The second option is to build a replacement school on the site and swing students to a nearby school during construction.
At a recent Lincoln Heights Block Club meeting in Tremont, Tremont West Development Corporation Executive Director Cory Riordan talked of adding a third option for Tremont School – building a new school on the back of the parcel and retaining the current school building for an alternative use. Riordan says TWDC plans to hold a meeting to get public input on the three options for the school after the November 4th vote on the bond issue.
The facilities plan calls for Scranton and Louis Muñoz Marin schools to be refreshed and updated.
Cluster Four: Clark Fulton and Stockyard neighborhoods
The Cluster Four Facilities Map shows four schools.
The Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy is the only new school in the cluster. The plan calls for the district to work with parents and stakeholders to determine how “to best maximize the programs in the space of this building.”
The facilities plan calls for a new PreK-8 school to be built on the site of Clark School. Students will move to a nearby swing school during construction.
The plan calls for maintaining Walton school, but with a recommendation that a discussion be started with the community about transitioning students to other buildings. The district believes the school is unsuitable for this climate.
The recommendation of the plan for Lincoln West High School is to maintain the building while doing a study to determine the best way to configure the building to serve 1,000 students.
Cluster Five: Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods
The Cluster Five Facilities Plan Map has six schools.
One of the schools, James Ford Rhodes High School has been renovated as a result of funds from the 2001 bond issue. Plans call for maintaining the school at the site.
Plans call for building a new William Rainey Harper school on its current site.
The facilities plan also calls a replacement PreK-8 Denison School. The district recommends expanding the site for the school so as to create more visible green space and create a presence on Denison Avenue.
In the short run the district plan calls for Charles Mooney to serve as swing space when Denison school is built. When the new Denison is up and running, the plan suggests that students from Mooney to be transitioned to other nearby schools and the building be closed.
The facilities plan calls for maintaining William Cullen Bryant and Benjamin Franklin Schools.
Editor’s Note: Sources used for the above article include: School Board passes draft of facilities plan extension, July 2014 Plain Press; Master Plan 18 Cluster Analysis, Bond Accountability Commission, June 2014; Issue 4 would continue CMSD’s Investment in neighborhoods, press release from CMSD consultant Patti Choby, October 2014; Cleveland Transformation Alliance minutes, September 15, 2014; and the Facilities Master Plan Cluster Map found on the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s website at: www.clevelandmetroschools.org/page/5895