The Cleveland Metropolitan School District is giving individual schools more control but a projected loss of 1400 students, many enrolling at charter schools, means a loss of state funding and cuts to staff over the next 2 years.
Some teachers are not happy. Lavonne Halaburda, a first grade teacher at Watterson-Lake Elementary, says, "I want to be clear it isn't the change that we are uncomfortable with or taking on our budgeting. It's the fact that you are not giving the money to our children they are entitled to."
CMSD CEO Eric Gordon says he won't layoff teachers. Cuts will come through retirements and not filling open positions.
Eric Gordon adds, "There has been a lot of talk about schools only getting $3,700 per child. That is incorrect. The average budget for next school year is $9,747 per child. Some as high as $13,000 per child." Gordon says the district is aggressively going after charter students who have left but can come back to CMSD.
Eric Gordon says, "This is the beginning of the process that will take us through May where we are looking at schools having a choice at what they might do and we are looking at if those things can be done."
Tuesday night, in the middle of it all, one educator said the burden to keep students from leaving falls on the teachers and administrators in every school.
Principal Erin Frew of new Tech West says, "We need to do a better job. I need to do a better job of making sure that students stay in our program and that we bring them back."
District CEO Eric Gordon says he is aggressively recruiting students at charter schools to try and turn around the enrollment numbers.
Gordon says, "We are right in the middle of our enrollment campaign. Bringing to our 8th grade families that continue onto high school here. We have actually partnered with Charter Schools to market their 8th grade students to return to the district. You can call 838-ENRL or enroll or click on 'choose your school' on our website for all the information on how to come back to Cleveland Schools."
CMSD sent out an information packet to all 8th grade charter school families in hopes they come back to attend high school.