Some Officials Surprised By Plans To Close Schools; Students Protest

CLEVELAND - Some Cleveland officials are expressing surprise in the $1 billion school construction program that includes closing 16 schools and building 49 new ones, and some students at one of the schools scheduled to be shut down while renovations are made protested the plan on Thursday.

Students at John Hay High School took to the streets outside of their school to complain that waiting two years for renovations to take place would mean that students that had been going to school together for virtually their whole lives would be split up, sent to various other schools across the city.

Mayor Jane Campbell didn't criticize the plan, but she said that she expected to see a copy of it before it was released publicly. Now that the plan is out, she said that she wants to hear more from the community, and will offer her suggestions as well.

Councilman Joe Cimperman was less forgiving. He said that the district didn't work with Cleveland City Council as had been promised.

Cimperman's ward includes two of the schools scheduled to be closed.

A year ago, schools chief executive Barbara Byrd-Bennett said that not a single school was slated to close. She said now that she isn't likely to change her mind about what schools should be closed, considering enrollment projections.


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