Collinwood and New Tech West high schools will remain open (for now) as CMSD consolidation plan moves forward

Collinwood and New Tech West high schools will remain open (for now) as CMSD consolidation plan moves forward
Collinwood High School will remain open for at least another year. (Source: CMSD)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Cleveland Board of Education unanimously approved a plan for the future of the district’s academic programs and facilities.

According to a Cleveland Metropolitan School District press release, the plan will:

• Consolidate Glenville and Martin Luther King Jr. high schools at Glenville. The plan calls for sprucing up the building and strengthening academics and adding career-technical programs that respond to demand in the job market.

• Consolidate East Tech, New Tech East, Jane Addams Business Careers Center and Washington Park Environmental Studies at East Tech. The plan will, among other things, combine a culinary program from Jane Addams and agriculture program at Washington Park with similar programs at East Tech. Students from East Tech will travel to Washington Park to use a greenhouse and other facilities, as will students from Rhodes School of Environmental Studies on the West Side.

• Move Whitney M. Young High School’s gifted and talented program to a new John F. Kennedy Campus that will open next school year.

• Phase out and close Design Lab Early College High School.

• Build a new Lincoln-West Campus, home to the Lincoln-West School of Global Studies and Lincoln-West School of Science and Health. The project will be part of continuing modernization program funded by the state and a local bond issue. Since 2002, CMSD has built or substantially renovated nearly 50 buildings.

• Close four K-8 schools – Case, Iowa-Maple, Michael R. White and Willow.

• Consolidate two K-8 schools -- Clark and Walton – in a new building. The District also will build a new Marion C. Seltzer and renovate Joseph M. Gallagher.

At CEO Eric Gordon's request, the board postponed for at least a year a proposal to close Collinwood High School and consolidate it with Glenville and Martin Luther King Jr. He also withdrew a recommendation to phase out and close New Tech West High School.

Neighborhood leaders had protested the recommendation to close Collinwood, which once held more than 3,000 students but now has roughly 200. Gordon called on them to form a Friends of Collinwood High School group that will, among other things, develop a manufacturing pathway to train students for high paying, in-demand jobs. He also is asking them to drive efforts to recruit and retain students and find users who will fill excess space and help restore the building to status as a neighborhood anchor.

Councilman Michael Polensek and Jamar Doyle, executive director of the Greater Collinwood Development Corp., thanked school officials and said they accepted the challenge.

Polensek and Doyle asked for more than a year to make the plan work. Gordon said he set the timetable for at least a year to keep the work on track and ensure "meaningful progress."

The decision to withdraw the New Tech West recommendation took into account academic performance that is better than that of neighboring schools and the lack of options for relocating the program.

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