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Issue 107:Work begins after levy passes

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Metropolitan School District took its first action Wednesday night, one day after voters passed a 15-mill property tax levy.

Cleveland School Board members unanimously approved restoring 50 minutes to the school day for grades K-8. To cut costs last spring, the board shortened the school day by reducing art, music and gym classes.

Board member Lisa Thomas was encouraged by the resolution. She noted that though the levy passed by 57-percent of the vote, residents in Ward 19 overwhelmingly voted against it.

"This is the single most important first step we could take to build the trust with the negative vote, and say we really do care for our kids," said Thomas.

The longer school day takes effect January 14th, right after a semester break, in order to make the smoothest transition.

The district hopes it's the first step of many, toward positive change.

Earlier in the day, CEO Eric Gordon expressed the hard work ahead for the district. "Expectations are the highest they've ever been and they should be," he told his leadership team.

But Gordon says they have to stay hyper-focused on results in the schools, just like they focused on passing the levy.

They will begin deciding what schools need to have longer school days or longer school years. Also, struggling schools may soon undergo major transformation in leadership and focus.