Board of Ed should consider a Plan D

“I don’t get a second chance to do this,” said Kal Zucker, CH-UH school board member, at the April 23 work session, where master facilities Plan C was presented to the board of education (BOE). The BOE acknowledged that residents are voicing opinions on what they are willing to support. I believe the BOE grasps the gravity of the situation and understands the need for broad-based community support before a final plan is placed on the ballot.

I commend the BOE for questioning the position that only two options exist: Do nothing and continue to let the district bleed; or implement Plan C, a bold, large-scale plan that many in the community perceive as divisive and expensive.

Plan C clearly pits one community against the other, and we need to find a plan that brings us together. Save Our School–University Heights has been very vocal on three key issues:

1) We believe we need to keep a public elementary school in University Heights or our community will be unattractive for families. This will decrease property values and the entire district will lose revenue over time.
2) The BOE offices need to remain in University Heights or our city will suffer a severe and unexpected decline in revenue. If one city decays, both will feel the impact.
3) The plan needs to be fiscally responsible so our collective community can afford it.

We need a plan that addresses many of our needs, but is less radical and more cost effective than what is currently on the table. To use an analogy: everyone wants to drive a Mercedes-Benz, and no one wants to drive a Yugo. Most people review what is reasonable, affordable and meets their needs, so they choose a Honda, a Ford or a Chevy.

In a district where three out of every five children live in poverty, it is irresponsible to consider only options at either end of the spectrum of "do nothing" or "do everything we'd ever want." We need to make sure the plan will actually lead to improved educational outcomes. Our children and our community deserve nothing less.

Our BOE members have the opportunity to be heroes by addressing our concerns and providing a cost-effective plan. I am encouraged that on May 14 both city governments and the BOE will meet. It’s long past time these entities work together for the good of their constituents.

I sincerely hope the BOE is listening, taking our concerns into consideration and coming up with a Plan D that will unite—instead of divide—the Heights.

Jodi Sourini
Member, Save Our School–University Heights

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Volume 5, Issue 5, Posted 9:30 AM, 05.02.2012