CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Schools are saying the Issue 107 levy campaign is the only solution to turn the financially strapped district around.
If the levy fails, the district would have to cut up to 800 teachers and staff. Several key programs would be eliminated and they would be facing a $50 million deficit.
And it's much more than just Cleveland that would be affected. Each drop-out from the district costs the region over $9,000 in needed public assistance. And that's money that goes to services for everyone of us.
CMSD CEO Eric Gordon is used to packed rooms. As he addresses this one at the City Club of Cleveland, throughout his district, kids are learning in over-crowded classrooms.
"And if we needed any reminder of why the Cleveland plan and this operating levy are so important, we got that reminder yesterday."
As Gordon pushes the plan, news broke CMSD will likely earn the rating of "academic emergency" on the 2011-12 state report card.
"It's going to take a persistent commitment from all of us - actually from even more of us -- to execute the plan for transforming Cleveland schools."
But luncheon attendee Jim O'Hare brought up a concerning point.
"Like many of the people in this room, we probably aren't voters in the city of Cleveland," he asked Gordon how suburban supporters can help.
"Believe me, we all want him to succeed and the Cleveland schools to succeed, but we have our own cities we need to support as well," says O'Hare.
"I'm in a similar situation in Euclid," says Euclid Superintendent, Keith Bel.l He has his own school system to worry about, but he says he'll do what he can to convince any of the 88,000 voters he knows in Cleveland.
"I'd have a hard time telling our parents and people to not make an investment in our kids."
Cleveland Metropolitan School District created a handout, telling outsiders how they can help. The district is asking for donations, volunteers and tutors.
Cleveland School Levy coverage