To the editor:
One of the incentives used to pass the 1995 parking tax was that the Cleveland schools would receive $2 million for extracurricular activities for the children for as long as the parking tax was in effect. Sometime around 2009, Mayor Frank Jackson decided to divert $1 million of the children’s money to balance the city budget. He has yet to restore it to its promised level.
The Plain Dealer’s Leila Atassi reported that the city has a $49.3 million surplus and that the mayor wants to build a rainy day fund. This surplus was partially created by cheating the voters and the children of Cleveland out of the promised funds. Before this surplus is used for other purposes, the children’s portion of the promised $2 million should be restored. The $5 million, of which the children were deprived since 2009, should be given, unrestricted to the CMSD and divided amongst the investment schools, which are in dire need of funds.
Remember, one of the public’s greatest fears of mayoral control was that the mayor would take advantage of school fund, while the appointed school board sat by silently. The fear is now real.
Even after the urgings of several council members, the mayor has shown extreme reluctance to restore the children’s money. It appears it will take a concerted effort by the public to resolve this matter in favor of the children.
This brings me to Lincoln West High School, supposedly, an investment school. For all that the administration has allowed to occur this year, that was counterproductive to a positive educational environment, Lincoln West should be awarded $1 million of the promised parking tax funds to be used as the principal and staff see fit. The public needs to know that the children went without lockers for the first 6 weeks of school, that tardiness, lack of respect for authority, violence, false fire alarms, dress code violations, etc. went unchecked for well into the second marking period, that the teacher’s had a plan to address these issues, which had merit, but were told could not be funded.
But, most appalling is Lincoln West has a heating problem of which the district was aware since May of 2013. As of 2/12/2014, this problem still exists. Some rooms are in the 80’s and 90’s, others are in the 50’s and 60’s, and some are just right. This is high school. Children move from room to room. What do you think that temperature variation does to a child’s body, to their mind, and to the over all educational environment?
Lincoln West deserves $1 million in compensation for the abuse and malpractice to which it has been subjected. It is time to make Lincoln West a true investment school, so the public can witness and the children can flourish, when a committed principal and staff design a properly funded school.
Gene Tracy, Retired Teacher, Full Time Activist