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Former School Board Member Says He Can't Support Facilities Master Plan

Eric Silverman spoke at the regular CH-UH School Board meeting July 3 and urged members to revise the plan.

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.

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John Hubbard July 10, 2012 at 02:10 AM
There's a growing sense of disappointment and dismay that the board would move forward with the divisive and ill-conceived notion that is called "Plan C". Join me in urging the Board of Education members to cast NO votes when the motion to approve the bond language is put forward. This plan needs more time and more voices. You can find their contact info on the district site: http://www.chuh.org/district/board-of-education/meet-the-board
C. Minot July 10, 2012 at 12:40 PM
I agree. I don't think the majority of residents in CH and UH have any idea what the board is trying to do. I am not quite sure why the board or part of the board is so gung-ho on a bond issue that most residents of CH and UH can ill afford. Times are hard and so many people are unemployed and barely holding on to their homes as it is. If they want to invest money in better schools...invest in the teachers. If new buildings were able to turn grades around how come East Cleveland that has built a new middle school and high school in the past 10 years not seen that happen?
Garry Kanter July 10, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Polls like this are subject to manipulation, but you *can't* manipulate the fact that there are only two "Yes" votes as of 9:23 am on July 10. Out of 54 total votes.
Bonnie Dolezal July 10, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Taxes here are too high as it is! Third graders can't read. PD recent stats. New school buildings won't change that. The only thing that will is parental interest. There is very little parental interest in this district or the third graders would be able to read at the level they should.
John Hubbard July 13, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Please consider signing this petition essentially asking the CH-UH Board of Ed to allow a year of honest community dialog before asking our community for $130 Million. http://www.change.org/petitions/cleveland-heights-university-heights-board-of-education-remove-plan-c-from-consideration-for-the-november-2012-ballot

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