Cleveland Councilman Joe Jones focused on schools issues: Cleveland City Council summer recess

August 23, 2018

Cleveland Councilman Joe Jones focused on schools issues: Cleveland City Council summer recess

CLEVELAND, Ohio – While school was out for summer, Ward 1 Cleveland Councilman Joe Jones was doing homework. 

Jones, who returned to City Council this year after an absence of more than a decade, has been working with residents who want input on the design for the new John F. Kennedy High School. 

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District plans to spend around $40 million on the new high school at Frederick Douglas Park on Miles Avenue west of Lee Road. The current JFK High School is not far away, on Harvard Avenue just east of Lee. 

In Jones’ view, getting that input is important because it will promote buy-in from the public. 

“Why build a school and not have the people be a part of it?” he said. “I’m a negotiator. I like to negotiate to get the best options possible.” 

Cleveland City Council is on summer recess, operating on a limited meeting schedule since the beginning of June. It won’t resume its regular meeting schedule until Sept. 10.   

This story is the tenth in a cleveland.com series that looks at what council members are doing during the recess.  

Ward One is about as far from City Hall as you can get without leaving Cleveland. It is in southeastern-most Cleveland. To the north, east and south, the ward borders other cities.  

The ward is comprised of the Lee-Harvard, Lee-Seville, Union-Miles neighborhoods and part of the Mount Pleasant neighborhood. 

During an interview with cleveland.com, Jones said he helped arrange for residents to meet with school district officials to give their input on color schemes for the high school.  

Jones showed cleveland.com several mock-ups of the building with various design options that he expects to be presented for public review.  

It’s the second school issue Jones has weighed in on with residents this year. In May, the school board approved spending $1.5 million to install portable classrooms at the Whitney M. Young Leadership Academy to keep the gifted program on the school’s Harvard Road campus. 

The school was scheduled to be split apart, with elementary school students being mixed into another elementary school and high school students moved into JFK High School. 

Jones and ward residents -- including students, parents and alumni -- objected to the school losing its identity and to mixing gifted students with others at the high school.  

Like many of his colleagues, Jones considers youth crime and violence to be key issues and looks for ways to keep them out of trouble, Jones said. 

Toward that end, Jones organized one job fair to help young people find work. He said he hopes to organize another soon. 

One employer he hopes he can get to participate is Amazon, which intends to open a fulfillment center in September at the former site of Randall Park Mall in North Randall, just a few miles up the road from Ward 1.

Previous stories: Cleveland City Council summer recess  

By phone, Facebook and tweets, Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland’s constituents keeping her busyCouncilwoman Dona Brady on the lookout for trouble in her ward For Councilman Mike Polensek, fewer meetings means more focus on constituent calls Councilman Kerry McCormack studying app technology as a way to improve downtown parking: Cleveland City Council summer recess Councilwoman Jasmin Santana devoting summer recess to constituent services Charter review, constituent calls keep summer schedule full for Councilman Martin Keane: Cleveland City Council summer recess Councilman Basheer Jones’ ‘big impact’ idea would extend development benefits to neighborhoods  Tending to growth, tackling poverty issues key focus for Glenville councilman  Cleveland councilman focused on development, potential job gains in East Side ward  

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