CH-UH forms lay school facilities committee
The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education is convening a group of citizens to help it devise a school facilities plan that can win voter approval. The Lay School Facilities Committee will be introduced to the Board of Education and the public at the board’s Oct. 2 meeting.
The committee will hold its first meeting at 7 p.m. on Oct. 3 in the project room of the newly renovated space within Legacy New Tech School at Cleveland Heights High School. On the agenda is selecting a chairperson, establishing a mission and clarifying the charge of the committee.
Patrick Mullen, executive director of Reaching Heights, a nonprofit that encourages community support of the public schools, had urged the school board at its Aug. 21 meeting to form a committee of Heights residents that was independent of the board and the district administration in order to re-examine the school facilities plan. After an 18-month planning process, the school board had voted in July not to place a ballot issue to finance a school facilities master plan, known as Plan C, on the November 2012 ballot. After listening to concerns of community members, Reaching Heights and FutureHeights, a nonprofit that encourages citizen participation, decided to work together to engage the community in a process to re-evaluate the school facilities master plan and requested that the board authorize the formation of a committee based on the model of the lay finance committee that assists with school levy campaigns.
The school board agreed to create a 15–25 member committee at its Aug. 21 work session. Among the goals suggested for the committee were to recommend plan configuration, timing and price range.
Following suggestions from board members, Karen Jones, board president, extended invitations to join the group to representatives of various community stakeholders, including the cities, the library, the alumni foundation, parents, nonprofits, the PTA, the teachers’ union and local business owners.
Members of the lay school facilities committee include: Patrick Mullen; Deanna Bremer Fisher, executive director of FutureHeights; Brian Schaner, teacher at Heights High and vice president of the teachers' union; Pam Cameron, University Heights City Councilwoman; Phil Ertel, University Heights City Councilman; Nancy Levin, Heights Libraries director; Jane Goodman, South Euclid City Councilmember; Jodi Sourini, Gearity PTA president; Dallas Schubert, former levy co-chair; Jim Posch, former levy co-chair; Natoya Jennell; Sam Bell, owner of the Lusty Wrench; Cheryl Oates, assistant director of the Treu-Mart Youth Development Fellowship Program at Case Western Reserve University; Krissy Dietrich Gallagher; Dave Tabor, former levy co-chair; Richard Wong, Cleveland Heights planning director; Susan Fleischer, co-owner of The Wine Spot; Alvin Saafir, Reaching Heights board member; Betsey Bell, Reaching Heights board member; Dennis Wilcox, Cleveland Heights City Councilmember; Katura Simmons; Eric Silverman, former school board member and president of the alumni foundation; Heather Conwell; John Hubbard, Reaching Heights board member; Donna Guilmette, a Canterbury neighborhood and University Heights resident; and James Cull, Cleveland Heights Planning Commission member.
Deanna Bremer Fisher
Deanna Bremer Fisher is executive director of FutureHeights and publisher of the Heights Observer.