Let's Broaden The Partners In The CH-UH Schools Master Planning Process: Letter to the Editor
Akiva Feinstein says the CH-UH School Board should partner with the city, private schools and other entities in the community as it finalizes its facilities master plan.
To the Editor:
The current master facilities plan in which the CH-UH School District has taken steps to initiate a process of closing unneeded schools and redesigning others has focused on the fact that individual public schools have unique needs and demographics.
This process is laudable and a very bold step for the district. This massive undertaking will have a significant on our entire community, on both public and private school students, and communities in general.
After taking this big step, I encourage School Board to take another one, bringing community leaders and private schools into the discussion to find ways to share and distribute unneeded resources better.
The closure of Millikin and its subsequently sitting for many years is an example of what happens when the reallocation of public resources occurs in a vacuum and no one else but School Board has the say. City Council, community leaders, private schools and religious groups could have worked together with the School Board to find a new purpose for the property, but instead they were kept on the outside while all decisions were made on the inside. Without this all that is left is an unused building that brings down the neighborhood and lots of resentment from local neighbors.
No one says public school assets should be given away, but appropriate sharing and selling is something we can all benefit from.
As former Cleveland Heights City Councilwoman Nancy Dietrich shared at a recent School Board meeting, times like this call for cooperation. Public school districts need to support and work with communities (government, local leadership, religious groups and private schools) and communities need to work with and support their public schools. Joint decision making is the way to go.
So, School Board, I implore you to involve communities from the get-go in this process, especially in creating partnerships to best determine the fate of closed campuses together. We don't want Gearity (Professional Development School) to become another Millikin, and if we work together, we can prevent this.