Cleveland school poll creates concern

CLEVELAND - A poll being conducted for taxpayer input into the future of Cleveland school buildings is raising major concerns among several city councilmen.

Polling is being conducted citywide. Residents who live in Collinwood are being asked whether Collinwood High School, whose student enrollment is about one-third of the building's capacity, should be closed and the students moved to another building or whether the unused portion of the building should be closed.

Glenville residents are getting the same questions about Glenville High School.

"You try to close either one of those high schools, you're in for a major fight," City Councilman Mike Polensek said. "If they try putting the student populations from Glenville and Collinwood together, you're going to have to bring back the troops from Afghanistan to guard that building."

Polensek was referring to rival groups at the two schools. He said the schools would have larger enrollments if they had the kind of curriculum that captures the interest of students.

Cleveland Schools CEO Eric Gordon said no decisions have been made and no school buildings will be closed next year. He's just trying to involve the public in the school facilities plan, which must be updated.

"We're asking, for example, do we need new high school options on the west side," he said.  "We're asking about K-8 decisions. Should we build or renovate?  Should we consolidate small schools to make larger schools?"

Gordon will meet with Polensek and several other councilmen Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, the polling will be followed by community meetings in late May.

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