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School board approves master facilities plan


The Board of Education has approved a plan to build 19 or 20 schools and update 23 to 25 others.

The board voted Tuesday to approve the master facilities plan, which will continue a modernization program that the state and District began more than a decade ago, after the gym roof collapsed at the former East High School. (Read details of the plan here.)

Four elementary schools – Buckeye-Woodland, Paul Revere, Watterson-Lake and McKinley will close, though not immediately. The plan does not call for closing high schools, giving the schools time to boost enrollment.

Planners addressed declining enrollment while making quality options available in every neighborhood, a main objective of The Cleveland Plan, CMSD’s state-approved blueprint for reform. They also sought to maximize construction funding from the state, which typically provides $2 for every $1 supplied by the District.

Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon insisted that the facilities plan take into account what the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission would fund. But he also called for flexibility in case successful reform causes enrollment to rebound or trends continue and downsizing becomes necessary.

Planners placed heavy emphasis on feedback from polling, conversations with community leaders and two rounds of public meetings and open houses. In fact, the plan was adjusted based on a series of 14 neighborhood open houses that began in late May and concluded last week.

Construction, which will replace outdated buildings with smaller schools, will depend largely on voters agreeing to extend tax payments that they agreed to in 2001. The board has until Aug. 6 to place tax issues on the November ballot.