EYES WIDE OPEN

Submitted by lmcshane on Fri, 02/05/2010 - 03:26.

I am sending this plea to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Mayor Frank Jackson:

PLEASE SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS AND MAYOR FRANK JACKSON—
OPEN your eyes and REJECT this entire proposal before the community mislabeled as a plan for transformation.  It is neither a plan nor a promise for transformation.  The “plan” offers no solution, and only generates more problems.
This proposal, if passed will devastate the life of EVERY student in Cleveland. It is also, most certainly, NOT a PLAN, because it does NOT address the District's $53 million dollar deficit, but instead will try to bleed another $70 million out of taxpayers.
With gratitude to Plain Dealer's Thomas Ott for pointing out the obvious, please open your eyes to what he called "obstacles" and I call deficiencies in the proposal. 
I have modified his text, but you can see the original article as highlighted below. 
From: Cleveland schools to unveil 'transformation plan' tonight
By Thomas Ott, The Plain Dealer January 05, 2010, 12:10PM :
The transformation proposal faces considerable obstacles:
1.) Including hiring flexibility and other points that require approval from the Cleveland Teachers Union.
2.) It also comes with a price tag of $70 million over three years.
3.) Sanders hopes to get some of the money from Race to the Top, President Obama's education-reform program. He also hopes to tap foundation and corporate sources and possibly gain concessions from employees.
4.) Eventually, the district will need a property tax to sustain the reforms, Sanders said. He said the request will come after the district shows voters it has tightened its belt and raised what is now dismal academic performance.
 
The District faces two SEPARATE issues--operational costs and student performance.  The "Transformation Plan" (TP) proposal crafted by the outside Boston Consulting Group and pitched by overpaid CEO Eugene Sanders--addresses neither issue.
 
There are several LARGE pots of money co-mingled and confused by the TP proposal.  The District passed a levy in 2001 that has largely received very little public scrutiny.  It funds capital improvements to buildings in the City of Cleveland.  The monies earmarked for facility improvements will expire in 2015.  Buildings have been demolished and rebuilt with the greatest expenditures of these monies already spent on the east side of Cleveland to date.  These monies have not been equally distributed to fulfill the promise of warm, safe and dry improvements to EXISTING schools.  
 
As a Cleveland taxpayer, I voted to pass this levy in 2001 and now know that despite promises made by a Bond Accountability Commission, that this levy has been squandered.  The money in this account can NOT go towards bridging the $53 million dollar operational gap the District will face in the coming year. The district will not save money by closing schools--in fact, it will lose $18 million dollars of investment--and will incur greater expenses and will destroy communities and our cultural history by abandoning or demolishing schools. 
 
The District and School Board should consider the deficiencies outlined by Plain Dealer Thomas Ott in his article: From Cleveland schools to unveil 'transformation plan' tonight   By Thomas Ott, The Plain Dealer January 05, 2010, 12:10PM
 
1.) The District should operate MORE, smaller schools and slash operating expenses by FIRST negotiating with the Cleveland Teachers union for performance standards and contract concessions from employees to formulate a REAL PLAN and SOLUTION to the $53 million dollar deficit.
 
2.) Face the REALITY that there is no 70 million dollars for the next three years--the district has to achieve greater efficiency by reducing across-the-board inefficiencies, dumping high salaried administrators and encouraging staff retirement of employees at the high end of the pay scale.
 
3.) Taxpayers pay CEO Sanders $300,000 to run the District--he did not craft the foundation funded $700,000 TP Plan--he merely pitches it--it is his job to justify reforms that will guarantee federal monies from the Race to the Top program--calling a school a charter school or an academy does not guarantee success.  Finding a solution that brings teachers and administrators to the table to address student needs WILL improve performance standards.  Getting corporate buy-in to financially support incubator and training programs and specialty schools will generate revenue for the District. 
 
4.) The District can not operate under the assumption that it will ever pass a levy again.  The District needs to maximize its return on its EXISTING inventory of HISTORIC, culturally significant buildings and make them work as community centers to sustain property values in the City of Cleveland and to attract new residents and taxpayers and to encourage restoration, renewal and craft A SUSTAINABLE PLAN for continued maintenance of our community infrastructure.

CLOSING schools, demolishing schools and moving students around like chess board pieces will not address the $53 million dollar shortfall facing Cleveland Metropolitan School District.  The CMSD School Board needs to do the math and hold the District administration accountable.  

To date, this administration has not received a passing grade.

 

Great Post

I agree. 

 

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. 

 

These knuckleheads need to get creative.  Promote what works and minimize effort wasted on proven failures.  Address the slop in the teacher's Union, fire underperforming teachers and promote success.  Pay the teachers a bonus for their student's success. 

How 'bout using a portion of wasted money in a scholarship fund for each student.  When the student successfully completes highschool and applies to college, that successful student can cash in their funds for a higher education.  It may increase a new percentage of Cleveland district students that have the potential to apply themselves. 

 

There's got to be a better way.  Until people stand up against the teachers union and their grasp on the educational purse-strings, nothing will change.

 

Good post Mac,

D-