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CHUH Lay Facilities Committee Narrows School Restructure Options

Cleveland Heights-University Heights votes to access costs of restructure models with five and seven elementary schools.

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District's Lay Facilities Committee voted to find the costs of three reconfigurations at Wednesday's meeting.

The committee, created by the CH-UH School Board at the recommendation of FutureHeights and Reaching Heights, is tasked with examining the facilities master plan and determining what aspects of the plan the community would support.

In January, the committee presented six scenarios to reconfigure the district by closing some schools and using only the property that the district already owns — and cut the number of open schools in the disctrict from 11 to seven or eight. Wednesday they asked for pricing on two versions of scenario 2A from the PDF to the right.

The committee also asked for the cost of keeping all seven of the district's elementary schools open — not because it's a probable scenario, but to provide the committee context for the other two scenarios.

In 2A, the district would keep two middle schools — Roxboro and Monticello — and Heights High open. Fairfax and Noble elementary schools would close.

The committee asked its architecture and construction consultants to provide pricing for this scenario with Gearity closed and Wiley open and for the same scenario but with Wiley closed and Gearity open.

The committee also approved a measure that funds the middle school and high school renovations and configuration with the November 2013 levy, and plans for a levy in a few years that would fund the elementary schools reconfiguration.

The committee is hosting three public meetings next week to hear community feedback on the scenarios and consider whether the scenarios match up with a survey that was taken last month on the community's priorities for the district's future.

The meetings will be at 7 p.m.:

  • Tuesday, March 12 at Wiley Middle School
  • Wednesday, March 13 at Roxboro Middle School
  • Thursday, March 14 at Monticello Middle School

Click the PDF to the right to see the results of the survey and the six scenarios that the committee considered.

Garry Kanter March 07, 2013 at 06:14 AM
If Boulevard and Fairfax elementaries are soooo bad that Boulevard needs to be torn down & rebuilt and Fairfax gets closed, they shouldn't be delayed. It is a disservice to another decade of kids. ---------- The committee also approved a measure that funds the middle school and high school renovations and configuration with the November 2013 levy, and plans for a levy in a few years that would fund the elementary schools reconfiguration.
Peter Bruce Photo March 07, 2013 at 01:07 PM
yes without raising taxes
michaelschwartz March 07, 2013 at 03:41 PM
Any of these scenarios will result in a massive property tax increase, because, conveniently they are not talking about just one levy but actually what will be more than one when you throw in the regular operting levy tax increases. Based upon their last supposedly inconsequential increase, it would not be out of the realm of possibility that the tax increase for a $200,000 valued house could be over $1,000 increase annually. And you think it is hard to sell a house in Cleveland Heights? Just wait.
michaelschwartz March 07, 2013 at 03:47 PM
And to the article above, are these lay finance people on drugs? One of the scenarios keeps all 7 elementary schools open. Whats going on? The enrollment has gone from over 10,000 kids to about 6,000 or so and they want to operate all these elementary schools? I thought the whole point was to close schools to right size the district. This is what you get when you get incompetent supposedly do gooders take charge of what should be a professional consulting opinion. This is most surprising in that the school board has no problem wasting the taxpayers money in most other areas.
Garry Kanter March 07, 2013 at 04:20 PM
They have gathered and presented ZERO NEW FACTS about the $206 MILLION they want to spend. They have wasted another 6 months or so. As you point out, the LFC was unskilled for such a task. Based on the documents I have received from school district treasurer Scott Gainer via Freedom Of Information Act requests, the LFC is comprised 100% of people that were *invited* to be members. Each and every citizen who *applied* to be on the LFC was turned down. I am one of those people. So, all that stuff about engaging the public was hogwash. The "results" were predictable. The kids deserve good schools. I'll not vote to give the BOE, the treasurer, or the superintendent another dime to spend. I look forward to all of those jokers being replaced. They add no value.
John H. March 07, 2013 at 05:23 PM
I have a list full of questions about this. The district was previously talking about closing 3 elementary schools, and keeping open all middle schools, now we are closing a middle school and keep all elementary schools open? Is this because we are no longer putting grades 4 and 5 in the middle schools as previously planned? UH fought to keep an elementary school open in their city, but they are ok with losing their middle school? What happened to the idea of a smaller K-8 school for UH? What is the plan for the vacant Wiley/Gearity? Wasn't the point of all of this to consolidate as many buildings as possible, thus saving the district operational expenses in the future? It sounds like we are just renovating, and not considering the overall picture. If we are going to bother raising taxes for the upteenth time and rennovating, and spending gobbles of money, the least the district could do, IMHO, is approach it with some vision.
michaelschwartz March 07, 2013 at 05:41 PM
It all goes back to BIG issue and that is the poor quality of education and the corresponding low results that are quantified in the State Achievement tests. It is easier to refocus the sheeple on bread and circus issues like a new astro turf football field or which elementary school will stay or go ( in this case in a pathetic turn of events maybe none) rather than deal with the main issue of why enrollment in the Heights schools continues to plummet with no end in sight and the value proposition to use the schools for parents with kids is a nonstarter. If the BOE and the sheeple used half their time in addressing this issue and trying to find a solution, the Heights schools and the city would not be in the death spiral it is in where families get out at the first opportunity they can. I still maintain that there will be NO turnaround in the Heights schools and in the city for that matter until the sheeple kick out all the present leadership. This school system and city is a rudderless ship that is well on its way to becoming an East Cleveland in very near future.
Garry Kanter March 07, 2013 at 06:02 PM
I share your concerns, and the desire for "Vision" for a project of this scale.
John H. March 07, 2013 at 06:54 PM
While I understand your concerns, I'm done hearing about CHUH becoming the new East Cleveland. It's not even remotely true. Yes, some people from East Cleveland are moving into the Heights, but Cleveland Heights and University Heights would have to go a LONG way down hill to reach the bottom that East Cleveland has hit. A Long, Long way. Coventry Village and CedarMount would have to collapse. The very expense houses in the Fairmount neighborhood and Roxboro neighborhood would have to crumble. Lots of people would have to move out. John Carroll would have to go bankrupt. Case students and graduates would have to stop moving in. The growth of the University Circle neighborhood, which is booming right now, would have to end. The Orthodox community near South Taylor would have to leave. All of these things are keeping Cleveland Heights and University Heights from becoming E.C. and all of them are stable elements, at least right now. I'm not saying things are great, but they are far from "East Cleveland bad". And I agree with you, I think new leadership is needed.
Richard Hollis March 07, 2013 at 11:49 PM
With whatever plan the BOE decides to go along with, I believe that there will be a need for much more expensive busing. I have heard that at this point we spend 6.5 million a year on busing. Kids will need to get up earlier, have to walk to the pick up point in the dark, and get home later. Will the empty buildings end up like Milliken (sp?) and be empty for years? Empty buildings still need to be maintained.
michaelschwartz March 08, 2013 at 07:09 PM
Which brings up the point as to whey the BOE ontinues to play landlordor developer with Coventry, Milliken, Taylor etc. The Board as I understand it ic charged with educating kids and being good stewards of the taxpayers money. I don't see anywhere in their charter as to being landlords or devleopers. I have ofetn wondered about Coventry and the so called tenants. Tey have Ensemble theatre whic looks like ithas about 1 play every couple of months whic few people attend, a new shared office company, and a nonprofit writing class group. I would really like to see the financials and what kind of income these groups are paying. I highly doubt if the are paying anything at all and if they are, it is no where near covering the costs of maintianing and running the school. In other words you have a total waste of taxpayers dollars and an out of touch citizenry who isn't asking the hard questions. If the Board were to unload all these vacant schools to the highest bidder, I suspect that there would be no need for any massive tax levy on the upcoming ballot which in my opinion, if passed, will just aboout be the final straw for most homeowners.
Michael's Shorts March 09, 2013 at 01:58 PM
"michael," for all of your whining, what exactly are you doing to get involved to challenge the BOE?

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