Cleveland High School is predicted to experience an increase of at least 150 students. Autumn O’Bryan, CHS principal, confirmed the predicted number of students is 1,403. The school closed the year with 1,254. O’Bryan said 26 students have been added since last Friday. There does not seem to be a common factor influencing the sudden growth, she said.
“I have spoken with several new students during registration and their answers have varied,” O’Bryan said. “One student is from Michigan and she is attending the school because her father is working at Wacker. Several other students are returning for the [recently revamped] dress code.”
According to Dr. Martin Ringstaff, director of City Schools, there will be growth at E.L. Ross Elementary of about 70 students.
Mike Collier, principal of CMS, said the middle school would never be less than 1,200 students. The school finished with 1,175 in May and will have at least 1,208 on the first day of classes. A majority of the growth is due to last year’s large fifth-grade class moving to CMS.
Ringstaff, on behalf of the schools, requested a full-time Spanish teacher position be approved by the board. Students must take a foreign language to graduate. The current high school population places an average of 35.4 students in available Spanish courses. The addition of a teacher lowers the number by 5.2.
Student growth at CHS has led to a temporary biology teacher position. A request was made to replace the temporary teacher with a full-time biology instructor.
Dawn Robinson, board member, made a motion to approve the two teaching positions and add flexibility on future changes as needed. Ringstaff said he would keep the board updated on growth needs.
“I am sorry the wheel tax was turned down as it was the only vehicle given for school funds,” Robinson said later in the meeting. “We supported the tax because we were presented with no alternative. ... Every single penny collected would have been designated for education only.”
Board member Steve Morgan said, “Our funding bodies will have their work cut out for them.”
Robinson said the school board was not politicking by placing support for the wheel tax on school signs. According to her, the intention was in support of promoting money for schools.
“If the school board cannot advocate for schools, then who can?” Robinson asked.
In other developments:
- Paul Ramsey, energy education specialist, said six Cleveland schools are in need of furniture replacements. These replacements include desks, chairs and teacher desks. The total cost is $117,261.50. Some of the furniture being replaced has been with the schools since they opened. Ramsey made it clear both growth and old age played a part in furniture needs. Cleveland High School and CMS have both requested 400 items. The high school needs desks whereas the middle school needs chairs.
It was reported money could be taken from the fund balance as long as the amount does not exceed $200,000. Ramsey said the furniture is of good quality and should be worth the purchase. The board moved to provide the necessary additions to the schools.
- Collier said the high school and middle school tracks are in need of improvement. He offered two solutions to the school board. Of the two tracks, the 12-year-old middle school track is in poorer condition. Morgan proposed waiting until a drainage fix could be made to the middle school field before repairs are made. Collier said both tracks would hold up for another year. The issue will be revisited in the spring.