For this final installment, a few clarifications and recommendations.
First? There are so many people in the city of University Heights who support public education, in general, and our high school students at Wiley, in particular.
Friends, please accept my tardy gratitude and acknowledgement for your support and dedication to this issue. It is because I know you are out there that I feel permitted to write as I have, to amplify our voice, one which sometimes feels ignored or diminished. It feels like we are muffled under the clover tuft in Whoville, crying out desperately, ‘we are here, we are here, we are here!’
First, some housekeeping. Do we have a approved safety plan, a Memorandum of Understanding between the district and a law enforcement body right now? No, we do not. The district meets with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s office and UH Police Chief Steven Hammett on October 21st. Given that the City Engineer and the Fire Chief both offered their departmental approval, a safety and security the Police Chief can support should make it possible for the Planning Commission’s vote on this project.
Is there a need for increased safety and security at Wiley? Yes. I do not deny that the size University Heights Police department is much smaller than Cleveland Heights, and that with an increase in daytime population at Wiley, more resources are needed. I have not heard anyone counter this, either.
Nor will I make claim that I have the expertise to decide between the district’s plan or the city’s plan, and which provides the right amount of service.’ The Police Chief has made his workload assessment findings known, and I do not question his expertise.
What I will say is this. If we can all agree that safety and security for our students, neighbors and community is a non-negotiable, why is the city unwilling to share even a modicum of the proposed costs of their own plan? If people are our first priority, which I still question, why not put some skin in the game, as a gesture of cooperation and shared commitment?
There is a lot of misinformation and reactionary language out there, as Cleveland Heights folks try to catch up what University Heights has been up to the last several months. First off: this is not a ‘sudden development’ as some have called it.
Read my prior posts to get the chronology since May, 2014. It’s been a slow, painful bleed out, and we desperately need a tourniquet.
But now a little time on some fair corrections.
Over the past several weeks, as I have relayed information about the stalled Wiley plan, I heard a lot of, “What?! I thought Wiley was a done deal?!”
If only, my friends.
Where we’ve been and where we are…the short version
For those late to the information game, the deal to convert Wiley to swing space for the Cleveland Heights High School has been slowly falling apart since early summer, taking trust, relationships and positive momentum down with it.
Last week, I learned that a dear friend and neighbor is moving out of University Heights. In discussing the many reasons, we stumbled together into a briar patch of passion, frustration and, for her, resignation.
“I can’t be fighting this school battle all the time. Why would I stay in a city that doesn’t want my kids?”
Both of her boys are in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights public schools. Until December, anyway.