Lay school facilities committee to meet Oct. 24
At an organizational meeting of the Lay Facilities Committee (LFC) on Oct. 3, at Cleveland Heights High School, Patrick Mullen, executive director of Reaching Heights, was elected committee chair. The CH-UH Board of Education (BOE) established the facilities committee in response to a request that grew out of a community meeting convened by FutureHeights and Reaching Heights in August, after the board decided against placing a bond issue for school facilities on the November 2012 ballot.
The group’s second meeting will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. at Gearity Professional Development School, 2323 Wrenford Road in University Heights. This and all committee meetings are open to the public.
At its Oct. 2 meeting, the BOE charged the new facilities committee with recommending a plan that is educationally sound, fiscally responsible and enjoys broad community support. The BOE’s goal is to place a facilities bond issue on the November 2013 ballot.
The LFC agreed to meet every three weeks in order to be ready to make recommendations to the BOE by early May. The committee confirmed that Plan C, which the board accepted last year, is open for revision.
The LFC’s goals include the need to engage the community to build consensus around several aspects of a plan, including:
- Confirming the need for a master facilities plan;
- Identifying key community values that should drive the process;
- Determining what the community will support regarding several aspects of the plan, such as which buildings will remain open and which will be closed, what an acceptable price tag for the project would be, what mix of funding sources could pay for the project, and the best timeline and sequence for phasing of the project.
In the week following the Oct. 3 meeting, Mullen formed a steering committee to help him clarify issues and set an agenda for the next LFC meeting. “I asked LFC members Krissy Dietrich Gallagher, John Hubbard, Alvin Saafir, Brian Schaner, and Jodi Sourini, as well as Steve Shergalis, CH-UH school district liaison to the committee, to join me for a one-time planning meeting,” said Mullen. “I asked these particular members of the committee because they represent a range of constituencies and expertise.”
Mullen met with Dietrich Gallagher, Hubbard, Schaner and Sourini on Oct. 18 at the Reaching Heights office. Saafir and Shergalis were unable to attend.
Mullen said, “There was agreement that the issues we face fall into one of three buckets: buildings (where, how many, what's in them, sustainability), money (project price tag, how it's paid for), and community (partnerships, process for re-using any closed buildings/sites). One goal of the Oct. 24 LFC meeting is to see if the entire committee agrees that these are the issues.”
Mullen said that subcommittees will form around each key issue. Two members of the facilities committee will head each subcommittee. They will be chosen on Oct. 24. Subcommittee membership is open to the public.
Mullen added, “At the end of the Oct. 18 meeting, the steering committee's work ended. It is not a standing committee going forward.”
Other agenda items for the Oct. 24 meeting are:
- A review of the report created by the first citizens facilities committee, led by the chairs of its four sub-committees—Dave Tabor, Dallas Schubert, Jim Posch and Eric Silverman—all of whom are also serving on the current lay facilities committee;
- A presentation by Jeffrey Talbert, assistant superintendent of the CH-UH City School District, on grade configuration and its impact on teaching and learning; and
- A presentation by Mark Chupp, assistant professor at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University and a member of the FutureHeights Board of Directors, on the next phase of community engagement.
Following each presentation will be a 10-minute comment and question period for community members. “We will ask that community members speak for no more than two minutes,” said Mullen, “lest one long comment prevent others from participating.”
The LFC’s third meeting will be held on Nov. 14. Details will be available by Oct. 26.
For up-to-date information about the Lay Facilities Committee, visit its blog site: www.chuhfacilities.org.
Deanna Bremer Fisher
Deanna Bremer Fisher is executive director of FutureHeights and publisher of the Heights Observer.