School bond issue: Are you for or against?

For the past several weeks, the Heights Observer has asked CH-UH residents to weigh in on the school bond issue by participating in the Observer’s online “Daily Question.” It asks residents how they would vote if the election were held today. Of the approximately 60 responses received to date, Heights Observer editors selected 10 “no” and 10 “yes” vote comments that represent the most common reasons people gave for their votes.

Some responses are too long to reprint here in their entirety. We have, therefore, taken some out of context, but believe we have distilled the main point of the responder. To participate by adding your opinion to the conversation, and to read all the comments in their entirety, go to

NO votes

I'm completely against this bond issue. I live in University Heights and do not support any issue that will close University Heights schools.

This is a very bad idea. It goes against preserving and enhancing our neighborhoods via neighborhood schools.

Until test scores improve I see no reason to turn over yet another giant chunk of money to this failure of a school system!

Phase I completely ignores the 2,600 elementary school students, their families, the equally derelict condition of the buildings (compared to the high school and middles schools), and their neighborhoods for another decade.

It would be nice to see student performance increase measurably. I can't believe that student performance is low because the buildings are not modernized, air conditioned, and laid out better.

We have never been told what it would cost per year to do the maintenance that the board says is too high to afford, and what if it is scheduled over several years? Also, cost of heating is lower now than it has ever been in decades and will remain low for the foreseeable future due to shale gas. So, we can tolerate this inefficiency. There will be an operating levy next year, and it is usually 7 percent +, which will effect many residents and their financial resources. The Plain Dealer reported that the CH levy will be $207/$100,000 of home assessed value, not the $167 that the school board told us.

We need to trust what the BOE and administration [are] doing with our $$ before we give them more to blow on whatever plan they decide. This vote is basically a blank check and I don't think we have the long-term people in place right now to make that decision. Too much money for who knows what.

No, because I believe we need a solid plan for the future and consistent leadership who will be here to implement that plan. I do not believe we should write a blank check without knowing who we are entrusting to spend it. Hire a good superintendent with a solid plan for improving educational outcomes, quit spending on select programs that pit neighborhood schools against one an other, reduce the top-heavy administration, eliminate an over reliance on consultants, and bring back important programs like library at the elementaries and career tech at middle and hs levels. In a district where 2 of every 5 children are living below the poverty line, a career tech education might be their best hope for breaking that cycle of poverty. I will vote yes only when I believe we are investing in the right things. Sadly, right now, we aren't.

One of the most wonderful reasons to live in the Heights is the options it affords. So many schools to choose from to suit your family's needs: private, public, parochial, Montessori. All within our reach!
Taxes are high enough. We ALL have old buildings to update and maintain—from our houses to our churches . . . With no air conditioning or pools. Ridiculous. Raise the money a different way.

YES votes

The Lay Facilities Committee has investigated and addressed the real needs of our current students, as well as made provisions for likely future developments.

Improving the learning environment is part of improving educational outcomes and can contribute to a culture of educational excellence. This issue amounts to a vote of confidence in the future of the schools, and passing the bond issue will help keep young families in the Heights.

To those who would couple bond passage to improved test scores, ask yourselves this: if I had to work in a stifling room, 90+ degrees hot on a cold winter's day, how well would I perform?

The state of the facilities [is] a perfect example of the Broken Windows theory . . . if we don't start fixing things (to show that someone cares) these kids start to believe that no one does . . . and will act accordingly. This isn't a shiny new building . . . it's reversing 3 decades of deferred maintenance and bringing things up to BASIC CODE in many cases.

If you wince at the price tag of the bond, imagine trying to offload your house once all the young families flee to Shaker or some other greener school pasture, and interest in the Heights flags for a generation or so. $200/$100k of home value may seem like a bargain then. Downtown is thriving, and there are plenty of cool communities that are investing in their schools. Lakewood, for one, very successfully.

We all own the school buildings and we are required to maintain them -- that is one of the very definitions of public schools ("maintained at the expense of the public"). The buildings are in horrible condition and we simply must do this now or we risk spending much more later, while also lowering the quality of everyone's educational experience and, of course, the value of our homes.

Our kids deserve a safe and updated educational environment. The building is in awful shape. If you are saying "no" to this, please tour the high school. These repairs and renovations will cost me $25 a month. I think my child's future is well worth that.

For new families to enter the Heights, buy homes and use them as their primary residence (not rental property) they need to know that public education is a viable option.

Starting at the high school and middle schools makes sense to avoid incoming students perpetually experiencing construction through their time within the district.
I will vote yes because I believe in and choose to invest in the future of our community and the future of our children.

I want to be proud of our community and our schools when other students and visitors come to our buildings. This is our chance to set the course for the next 100 years of students!

Voting against these necessary renovations because you don't like the gifted program at RoxEl is like refusing to fix your leaking roof because you don't like the paint color in your kitchen. The two are not related!

This is not some fly by night plan that was cooked up by a few well-to-do folks in the district. The Lay Facilities Committees have been studying, debating, soliciting community input, listening and adjusting plans based on feedback and concerns about costs for 3 years on this issue. Most of the folks on these committees are VOLUNTEERS who are passionate about maintaining a strong public school option for CH residents and who want CH to thrive.

Heights Observer Editor


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Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 2:26 PM, 09.24.2013