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What is the Cleveland Plan and Why Would I Want One?

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Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 9:00 AM

On Monday, Feb. 11, Cleveland Connects will host a panel discussion on the Cleveland plan featuring city and school leaders.

When people talk about the “Cleveland Plan” they can mean different things.

  • The term can mean a package of state laws that significantly change how the Cleveland schools operate.
  • It can also mean the Cleveland school district’s plan to improve the city’s schools, the worst of Ohio’s large urban school districts.
  • The Cleveland Plan legislation took effect in October and only applies to the Cleveland school district. It was a key selling point in the school district’s successful campaign to pass a property levy that could bring in as much as $85 million a year.

What Does The Cleveland Plan Legislation Do?

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Cleveland Connects

Ideastream, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, PNC Bank and the Cleveland Leadership Center will devote the next installment of their Cleveland Connects community conversation series to a panel discussion of what's ahead for the Cleveland schools.

Panelists: Mayor Frank Jackson, Cleveland schools CEO Eric Gordon, Cleveland Teachers Union President David Quolke and Cleveland Foundation Program Director Helen Williams.

Date: Monday, February 11, 2013.

Time: Reception at 5 p.m.; Program from 6-7 p.m.
Location: Idea Center at PlayhouseSquare
Admission: Free, Registration Required

More Information


  1. It makes it easier for administrators to fire teachers and principals who are continually low-performing.
  2. It gives school district administrators more leeway in deciding whether to lay off teachers and requires them to lay off lower-performing teachers first.
  3. It lets school administrators place teachers at schools based on their abilities and credentials, rather than only on how long they’ve been teaching.
  4. It requires the district to adopt performance pay for principals, basing their salaries on how well they do their jobs and student performance rather than a set salary schedule. (Cleveland is already going to do that for teachers.)
  5. It allows the school district CEO to cut or increase funding for individual schools, cut or reassign staff or lengthen the school day or year, even if doing so violates union contracts.
  6. It lets the district share local property tax proceeds with some charter schools.
  7. It requires that some groups who want to sponsor, or oversee, new charter schools within the district get one-time approval from the Ohio Department of Education.
  8. It allows the district to sell property and use the proceeds to run schools. Currently, property-sale revenues generally must be used to pay off bonds.

How Is The Cleveland Plan Supposed to Improve Local Schools?

The plan has one goal: Make Cleveland schools better.

The plan calls for reaching that big goal through four main strategies:

  1. Increase the number of good schools (whether charter or traditional public) and close bad schools.
  2. Put school principals rather than the central office in charge of running schools.
  3. Start and expand new programs (like preschool, year-round schools and internships for high school students) and do a better job at things like using technology in schools and recruiting staff.
  4. Establish a separate nonprofit group to keep tabs on how the district is doing and help market the district’s best schools.

To accomplish those four strategies, the district plans to make hundreds of changes, big and small.

The big-picture summary of those changes is 33 pages long and includes everything from doing a better job of helping parents pick schools and improving school security to streamlining how teachers are hired, redesigning the district’s budgeting process and implementing the new Common Core curriculum.

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