Cleveland Metropolitan School District Wants to Boost Public-Private Partnerships

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On the brink of a new school year, Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon said  it's not just the district's responsibility to turnaround the city's schools.

The task also falls to the city's businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Gordon said he believes education needs to be a group effort.

Groups, including MetroHealth, which helps provide medical services to students who can't get to the doctor's office, and Third Federal, which funds tutors and free preschool in underprivileged neighborhoods, were some of the examples Gordon pointed to Thursday at a roundtable discussing public/private partnerships in the Slavic Village neighborhood.

Gordon said companies that help the city's students get more than a "feel good" payoff.

"It's good business to come into our communities and help create the resiliency that get people employed, that get people educated, that get people able to contribute in the way that all of us do," he said.

But Gordon warned that businesses thinking about investing money and manpower to help the district shouldn't expect short term dividends.

"We didn't get here overnight and we're not going to get out of here overnight," he said. "And so if we're going to really help a community, we need institutions to think in an urgently persistent manner and set a few long term investment goals, that will have good returns in the future and be less concerned about whether they get an immediate return in next year's tax book, for example."

Gordon is set to deliver his annual "State of the Schools" address later this month.

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