Closures, consolidation and new buildings recommended for Cleveland elementary schools

CLEVELAND -- Several Cleveland elementary schools are scheduled to be closed, relocated, renovated or replaced under a new proposal outlined Wednesday night by Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon.

The first of six meetings was held at Max Hayes High School.

“We’re recommending five new construction buildings that will include some consolidation of smaller schools into bigger schools and we’re recommending three program relocations into more modern facilities, so that we can take some older facilities offline,” Gordon said.

The school district said the recommendations, which are based on extensive data analysis and community feedback, are only for K-8 schools. Changes would take effect during the 2020-21 school year. A similar process for high schools will follow in the fall.

The K-8 proposals include:

  • Close four schools -- Willow, Iowa-Maple, Michael R. White and Case.
  • Relocate five schools – Kenneth W. Clement Boys’ Leadership Academy, Valley View Boys’ Leadership Academy, Tremont Montessori, Bolton and Dike School of the Arts. The two all-boys schools would be consolidated into one school, as would Bolton and Dike.
  • Renovate or construct five new buildings for students in seven schools – Clark, Walton, Denison, Charles A. Mooney, Joseph M. Gallagher, Marion C. Seltzer and Douglas MacArthur Girls’ Leadership Academy. Clark would be consolidated with Walton and Denison would be consolidated with Mooney.

The projects are part of a continuing modernization program funded by the state and a local bond issue.

“We have some difficult decisions to make,” Gordon said. “But we believe these are the most responsible things to do. We are trying to do what’s best for the District.”

According to the district, the four schools recommended for closing are in older buildings, have low enrollment and received a D or F on their most recent state report cards. Nearby schools have space, mostly in new or renovated buildings, for additional students.

The five schools proposed for relocation would move from older structures to three existing modernized buildings

“To have this kind of recommendation to come out is just devastating,” said Erin Randel, who has two children who attend Tremont Montessori, which currently operates in a building more than 100 years old.

Randel lives in Collinwood on the east side. She said she loves sending her children to the near west side Montessori school because of its academic program, diversity and centralized location.

“There’s a place for neighborhood schools, but to take a city-wide draw and put it somewhere east or west when there’s already a couple of east side Montessori schools. I just don’t see it, I don’t get it,” she said.

“The program serves about 90% of our children from outside the Tremont area and it means that I can get them into a more modernized building by using an existing building that’s already available in the city,” responded Gordon.

The Board of Education will consider the recommendations in June, after the District receives more input.

A schedule of the meetings to be held through June 1, can be found at qualityschoolsforclekids.org.

Continuing coverage, here.

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