Board Members Question Early Cleveland School Start Times

Monday, October 3, 2011

Board member Tom Cloud was on the Cleveland City Schools' agenda Monday evening to discuss the schools' start and stop times. Mr. Cloud said he was on the committee when the schools went to the earlier (7:25 a.m.) secondary time years ago, but has since seen his niece - a sixth grader - waiting for a bus at 6:05 a.m.

Dr. Martin Ringstaff said, "6 O'clock is too early to have children outside waiting on a school bus. "Six a.m. is just crazy," he said.

Board member Dawn Robinson asked about the ramifications for the transportation department. Bob True, maintenance and transportation superintendent, said officials have split runs on buses for the high school, and, as Dr. Ringstaff suggested, middle school and high school on the same buses - would help to eliminate (some of) the double runs.

Dr. Ringstaff acknowledged the rumor of flipping schedules. "I am not in favor of flipping," he said.

The board was all in favor of the change, but it was not a voting matter on the October agenda. Energy Education Specialist Paul Ramsey said, "It can be done, we just want to do it right and give people time to plan."

The board plans to add a comment-friendly blog about this issue to the school website. Mrs. Robinson asked for a study from the transportation department and for a report to come back to the board.

Valerie Mack, supervisor of transportation, said she will look at the logistics of combining the high school and middle school transportation and how the numbers would play out.

Dr. Ringstaff asked the board if former board member Max Carroll could assist the board as a liaison with discussion of purchasing land for a new elementary school. Board member Tom Cloud said Mr. Carroll made it clear he would not server for personal gain, but as a mediator. Mr. Carroll said he has no opinion, but that he enjoyed his time on the board. Mrs. Robinson said she is all for it, "This board is all about collaboration," she said.

Dr. Ringstaff said, "We are lucky to have this resource. I don't have the time, knowledge or resources - his background would really help us."

Jennifer Norton with The Greenway Table asked the board for a continued partnership as her gardens are on the Mayfield property and the board only approved her project for three years in February of 2009.

Ms. Norton, who offers the garden to several school groups and hopes to eventually work with the school nutritionists, said, "Gardens can enhance learning with both science and math."

Ms. Norton asked the board to approve water to be run over the bridge at 20th, which her non-profit would pay for, but doesn't have the ability to approve. Ms. Norton was on the agenda only to present, but not for a voting issue, so the board will vote in November regarding the irrigation to the Greenway Table.

The board will meet Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. to discuss its long-range plan.


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