CMSD unveils major school closure and cost-cutting plan aimed at modernizing and improving district

Plans under way to close multiple Cleveland schools

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Cleveland Metropolitan School District is developing plans that would close, merge or relocate several K-8 schools.

The major cost-cutting and consolidation plan is being billed as a modernization project that focuses on closing schools with slipping enrollment, below-average student performance and high maintenance costs.

Here’s a breakdown of the plan, which has not been finalized:

-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,” said CMSD CEO Eric Gordon in a prepared statement. “But we believe these are the most responsible things to do. We are trying to do what’s best for the District.”

According to a CMSD press release, the school district analyzed data, not only for District schools but charters. The data measures academic quality, enrollment and school choice, building use and condition, and CMSD program viability

The District also hosted seven community meetings, which collectively drew more than 500 people, and collected feedback,

The data analysis and feedback can be found here.

The metrics and community input helped shape the draft recommendations:

-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. The schools have unique educational models and draw heavily from outside their neighborhoods.

-Schools that would go into new or renovated buildings are in areas where their capacity is needed to meet projected demand. Not only would the work keep CMSD’s commitment to provide 21st Century learning environments, it would improve efficiency.

The recommendations would result in an 11 percent reduction in the number of students attending F- or D-rated schools, an 18 percent increase in average K-8 enrollment and a 20 percentage point increase in the number students attending new or renovated schools, bringing that proportion to 85 percent.

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

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