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Cleveland Metropolitan School District shares information on COVID-19 planning and budget projections at Board of Education meeting

Cleveland Metropolitan School District shares information on COVID-19 planning and budget projections at Board of Education meeting

(Plain Press, December 2020)           Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon shared information with the Board of Education at its November 17th meeting on the administration’s planning to manage COVID-19. Gordon said CMSD plans to announce their next decision on reopening, hybrid or full remote learning, on Dec. 11.  

   Unless public health trends improve, Gordon said CMSD will remain fully remote until Dec. 21. The week of Nov. 30, caregivers, students and teachers will receive surveys asking for their input on decisions around reopening and wellness and safety measures for the district. If the district were to open upon COVID-19 case numbers improving, Gordon presented a three-phase plan — starting with ELL (English Language Learners), Off-Track 12th grade students, CTE (Career/Technical Education) students, and winter athletes. Phase two would include Pre-K to 2nd grade students, Off Track 9th grade students, and the rest of the CTE students. Phase 3 would include the remaining students.

   CEO Gordon also noted that the School Choice portal has opened. Eighth Grade students and their families can use the portal at ChooseCMSD.org to select high schools for next school year. According to the CMSD website, the portal will accept high school choices until February 5th. Families can select up to five schools and rank them in order of preference. Families and students can also use the portal if they are already enrolled in a high school and would like to change schools.

   In an effort to make CMSD a more racially just school system, Gordon said he met with Black Lives Matter Cleveland and Black Spring Cleveland to begin the discussion of potential actions the district could take toward reaching that goal.

   The Board of Education Agenda included a resolution to express support for The Ohio Fair School Funding Plan and urged the Ohio Senate to pass Senate Bill 376 and the Ohio of Representatives to pass House Bill 305.  The bills will attempt to adjust the school funding system in Ohio. If they become law, they will shift the funding from solely a property-tax allocation system to a balance of property and income wealth. It also segregates voucher, community and charter school and school district payments so the state will make payments directly to those schools rather than having those allocations come out of the funds allocated to local school districts.

   The Board of Education approved its Five-Year Financial Forecast of Revenues and Expenditures. The forecast includes projected property tax revenue increases from the 15-mill renewal and 5 mill additional tax levy Cleveland voters passed on November 3rd

   The five-year forecast notes that assessed property values “increased by 10% with the 2018 reappraisal from $4.8 billion to $5.3 billion.” The report notes that HB 920 (passed in 1976) limits the ability of the school district to take advantage of increase in property value due to appraisal until a new levy is passed. The district says the current property values are projected at $5.2 billion. The levy will assess 20 mills on the current value of property and is projected to bring in $87.6 million in School Year 2021-2022 and $88.8 million in each of the three years after that. CMSD projected that if the levy did not pass by the 2024-2025 School Year its Unencumbered Balance would be a negative $322 million. Instead with the passage of the levy the projection is to have a positive balance at the end of the 2024-2025 School year of $74.8 million.

   The five-year forecast notes that currently 32.2 percent of the CMSD General Fund revenue comes from local property tax. It states that property tax collection rate is currently 88.2%. According to the report 59.8% of CMSD’s General Fund Revenue comes from the State Foundation Formula.

   Another resolution passed by the Board of Education authorizes the Chief Executive Officer to offer school buildings that haven’t been used as schools over the last twelve months to Community Schools as required by the Ohio Revised Code.

Editor’s Note: Notes and documents from the November 17th CMSD Board of Education Meeting were provided to the Plain Press by Cleveland Documenters. Many thanks to Cleveland Documenters and Candice Wilder, the documenter who took the notes used in this article. Cleveland Documenters, powered by City Bureau and Neighbor Up, trains and pays Greater Clevelanders to document government meetings in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. Find out more about Cleveland Documenters visit  https://cleveland.documenters.org or call 216-361-0042.

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