Former Cleveland Heights-University Heights member Eric Silverman attended the and said he couldn’t get behind the .
Before the board , one of the ideas in a project that has been in the works since , Silverman, president of the Alumni Foundation, spoke to members about how he thought the plan was flawed in many ways.
He was the only person to speak before the board about the facilities master plan that evening.
He urged members to change it and postpone approving the plan and the $130.6 million bond issue needed to pay for part of it.
“Forty years ago, our district implemented a flawed plan that was done on the cheap and we have suffered those shortcomings for decades. I implore the board to not repeat the mistakes of the past,” said Silverman, who also served on the , a group of school board and city council members, administrators, parents, teachers and others asked to study the condition of the schools and prepare a recommendation of what the board should do.
“This is the wrong plan at the wrong time with dubious funding. It is better to wait for a plan people are excited about instead of one they are resigned to.”
Silverman presented a laundry list of his issues with the plan. Some of his primary concerns are that the '70s additions are not being removed from some of the elementary schools, the fact that architects have not presented sufficient data that demonstrates their plan will positively influence educational outcomes, the plan as presented does not include the Delisle Educational Options Center (former Taylor Academy,) Millikin, The Board of Education building, Coventry and other CH-UH facilities and that all the funding sources are not yet guaranteed.
But there is one part of the plan that is chief among his concerns — the high school renovations.
"The High School is my Rubicon, as what is proposed there is so fundamentally flawed as to be useless and shows a complete lack of thought and respect to what is there. This proposal is a cookie cutter concept, lazy design masquerading as forward thought," he said. "Perhaps if the one group that has floor plans and drawings for Heights (the alumni foundation) had had one formal meeting with Fielding Nair and district staff about the high school, we might have a plan that was less destructive, less costly and had more green space and not less."
Silverman added that if the board , it shouldn’t go through.
“I’m shocked, to be honest. I know of no other situation that we’ve had a vote like this by the board on such a big issue,” Silverman said after the regular meeting. “There is no way on God’s green Earth — as currently constructed — that I’d vote for this. And I’ve voted for every issue since I’ve been 18.”
Tell us, will you vote for the bond issue to support the facilities master plan in November? (Note: The bond needs one more vote to be approved.) Take our poll below and share your thoughts in the comments. A PDF of Plan C, courtesy of the CH-UH School District, is also included with this article.