Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education forum highlights 7-16-12
JULY 16, 2012 – Special Public Forum
All board members were present.
The forum was held to hear community members’ ideas concerning the master school facilities plan C for which a bond issue is planned for the November ballot. Each speaker was allotted a timed 5 minutes.
Eighteen residents addressed the board. Three spoke in favor, eight opposed the proposed plan, and the rest either urged more time to develop a plan the community could support or expressed concerns about the plan. Some were unhappy with the lack of notice for this public forum.
One senior citizen, a community resident for 54 years, explained that the financial hardship on seniors must be considered.
The three residents favoring the plan agreed that buildings have been neglected, must meet standards, and plan C would address these needs.
The negative comments included claims that the plan was not concrete, fundamentally flawed, and not the “right” plan because the board was split with a three to two vote. Some felt that consultants had pushed the plan on the district with an approach to funding that was insecure, no one liked, and did not follow the values of the community. Speakers asked for more time to develop a compelling plan that everyone would like, and requested that the plan’s timetable be clarified. Many speakers said they could not support the plan and would campaign against it. One speaker, having researched the “small room” idea proposed as part of the plan, said that teachers have found such rooms to be “unusable” and that the architects were pushing this on the district. Gearity parents would like to see an elementary school remain in University Heights because new families will be more likely to try the public schools.
Eric Silverman, president of the Cleveland Heights High School Alumni Foundation, urged the board to wait to place a bond issue on the ballot. He stated that the ten weeks leading up to the November ballot would not be enough time to convince voters that plan C was the right plan. He felt that over the next ten months, the board could develop a plan that the voters would like and place an issue on the ballot in 2013.
University Heights Mayor Susan Infeld said that although the schools need major repairs, plan C costs were too high and had many “ifs.” She asked why renovations were not considered, and expressed concern about the impact on property values if schools were closed in University Heights. She was also concerned that the board was not united.
LWV observer: Lillian Houser.
These meeting summaries are abstracted from LWV observers’ written reports. The summaries have been edited and prepared by Anne McFarland, Charlene Morse, and Maryann Barnes. To receive e-mail postings of full reports, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or join through Google groups using “lwv-chuh observer reports” as a search phrase.
These reports contain member observation and selected highlights of public meetings and are not official statements of the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters Cuyahoga Area. This disclaimer must accompany any redistribution of these reports.