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State Commission Accepts Plan C, Commits Funding

The CH-UH School Board must now decide if it wants to spend $1 million toward Plan C, the facilities master plan, to lock in the rate of funding that this year created $22.8 million. And it must also decide how to move forward with Plan C.

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights School Board has much to discuss at its Aug. 21 special meeting dedicated to the facilities master plan.

What timeline are members working with? What has the community suggested? Where should the district's administration move from here?

One item they plan to discuss, while a bit more concrete, is not simple.

Superintendent Douglas Heuer announced at the regular meeting Aug. 7 that the Ohio School Facilities Commission has accepted Plan C, the facilities master plan . The board also voted 4-1 to submit that plan to the OSFC.

The OSFC, which administers the state’s comprehensive K-12 public school construction program, also committed the state to pitching in approximately $22.8 million toward Plan C, or a revised version of it once the district moves forward with the project.

But the rest of the funding for the proposed $206.2 million plan has not been finalized. The on the November ballot that would have paid for a large portion of the plan.

So the board must decide if it wants to lock in the funding rate that created the $22.8 million, or if it wants to gamble and see if the rate will be better next year. And to lock in that rate, the district must invest at least $1 million into the plan this school year.

“If the board would spend $1 million or in excess of a million dollars this year on any portion of the plan, that would enable the board to petition to the OSFC to lock in this percentage,” Heuer explained.  “…It’s almost impossible to predict where you may be from one year to the other.”

The $1 million must be spent on what the OSFC deems “co-fundable,” and does not include work on a high school stadium, auditorium or natatorium, said Steve Shergalis, business services director.

“Depending on where we go with this, I would work with the OSFC to see if the work we are doing this year at the high school and in the other two pilot programs would in fact qualify,” Shergalis said.

Before the meeting began Aug. 7, two Cleveland Heights residents spoke about the facilities master plan.

In a tearful speech, Garry Kanter thanked the board for listening to citizens who had concerns about the facilities master plan and voting down the bond issue. He asked that they now turn to residents, who are experts in many fields, to help revise Plan C instead of using consultants.

Patrick Mullen, executive director of Reaching Heights, also listed ideas compiled from a :

  • Resolve the
  • Work closely with the cities of Cleveland Heights and University Heights moving forward
  • Reopen Plan C for possible revision
  • To better involve the community in the process, create a lay facilities committee to help engage the community and "build on the hard work that's already been done."

"I'm here tonight to urge the school board to use the time that we now have to actively lead this next phase of the facilities process, so that we can build community-wide confidence in a plan, support for a plan, that will pass in 2013," Mullen said. "As you know, 2013 is an important deadline, because after next year, we no longer qualify for some of the funding that will be necessary for doing a comprehensive plan."

The school board will meet at 7 p.m. Aug. 21 in the building to discuss the next phase of the facilities master plan.

Garry Kanter August 09, 2012 at 05:09 PM
I would like to thank Michelle for including my brief address in the article. I would like to point out, however, that a piece of dust had entered my eye, and was causing the condition mentioned above. Anyone wanna buy a bridge? Tax abated?
Michael's Shorts August 09, 2012 at 06:34 PM
So the BOE is still going to try to push for Plan C, more or less? I think that might be a mistake. I hope other ideas are considered.
Garry Kanter August 09, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Speaking on behalf of no one but myself, I hope there is a "do over" that re-examines all the info that was gathered, and considers different solutions.
Michelle Simakis (Editor) August 09, 2012 at 08:08 PM
I think we'll know more about that after the meeting Aug. 21.
Richard Hollis August 10, 2012 at 11:46 AM
It would be nice if we had more information as to what "Plan C" is really going to do. How about meetings in the schools on Saturdays or Sundays,or even weekday evenings or afternoons, that are well publicized, to let the residents know what the plan is. The BOE has always claimed that it is too costly to open the buildings on off hours. If you are talking about spending millions, it would be a mere drop in the bucket.
Garry Kanter August 10, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Something this big requires the "best practices" available today. And I see merit in your idea. I'd also like to see social media being used, conference calls, even Skype. The buzz word of today is "Crowd Sourcing". All it means is "Two Heads Are Better Than One", without limits.
John H. August 27, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Perhaps is the district is unwilling to keep school buildings open for the meetings, they could utilize the Public Libraries. Or maybe the City of CH could be persuaded to let them have it at the CH Community Center.

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