The Cleveland City Schools Board of Education unanimously approved its 2013-2014 school calendar, which includes a full week of fall break and the week of spring break that match with the county's schedule. Teachers were given the calendars on which to vote and a resounding 70 percent voted in favor of the approved calendar.
Board member Steve Morgan said, "Calendars are an interesting thing. People will ask for one option, then be mad it's approved." But he said, "If 70 percent vote for one, I make a motion we approve it."
Michelle Castleberry from the Cleveland Education Association (CEA) asked the board to draft a resolution against school vouchers, parent triggers (magnet schools), pay based on test scores, merit pay and any effort to weaken retirement - all of which are being proposed by Governor Haslam and Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman.
Director of Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff said, "I have been very outspoken against all of these issues. These are just ridiculous topics." He said, "Our teachers are working their tails off - and I thank you (CEA) for protecting them." Ms. Castleberry said the CEA is against school vouchers because they "rob public schools of critical funding."
The board recently purchased a new school bus for $49,950. Board member Dr. Murl Dirksen said, "Every time I see a City bus I'm so proud." Director of Maintenance Hal Taylor said, "There are a lot of miles left on this bus. We were good stewards with taxpayer money."
Finally, the board discussed purchasing a piece of land for a new elementary school. The consensus is the property needs to be in the middle of the growth. They are still interested in the Hardwick Farms property and still leaving it on the table, but are discussing a piece of property near Cleveland Middle School that comes site ready without deed and other restrictions and at a lower cost. They did not vote, but board member Dawn Robinson said they need to be prepared with a decision if the City Council offers them the finances in January.