© 2024 Ideastream Public Media

1375 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
(216) 916-6100 | (877) 399-3307

WKSU is a public media service licensed to Kent State University and operated by Ideastream Public Media.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
To contact us with news tips, story ideas or other related information, e-mail newsstaff@ideastream.org.

Schools Chief Takes His Reform Plan to the People

Cleveland Schools CEO Eugene Sanders took his school reform plan to South High in Slavic Village.
Cleveland Schools CEO Eugene Sanders took his school reform plan to South High in Slavic Village.

South High School is one of the buildings slated to close under the transformation blueprint, and Eugene Sanders passed out several pages of statistics to explain why --- until he realized that the South High numbers weren't in the handout. It was one evidence of the haste with which this meeting was called. Parent Teresa King complained that decisions were being made too quickly.

TERESA KING: This is a lot of information for us to process, but you talk as if this was a done deal. By the time I'm able to read and understand and digest this information, will I have an opportunity for feedback before the done deal?

Sanders apologized for the confusion and emphasized that the plan was still a proposal, subject to approval by the school board. And subject to change if some compelling evidence was presented by the public during these community meetings. But, he added that the evidence would have to be VERY compelling. A South High alum cautioned the CEO that the closing the school could have a larger impact on the surrounding neighborhood.

SOUTH HIGH ALUM: Because, as you are aware, back behind the school, besides the new field, there's going to be a lot of new houses going in. You know, it's going to be hard to sell houses if you don't have the high school.

A number of parents and students spoke in defense of new principal Erik Thorson, who they said had performed his own brand of transformation --- restoring order to a school with a reputation for violence and lockdowns. Sanders acknowledged all of the comments and promised to consider each one, before submitting his final plan to the school board, which is due to vote on the proposal February 23rd.

David C. Barnett was a senior arts & culture reporter for Ideastream Public Media. He retired in October 2022.