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CISD moving freshman to old Northside campus

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    Cleveland ISD Interim Superintendent Stephen McCanless addresses community members about the district’s plan to move ninth-grade students to the old Northside Elementary next fall. The Vindicator | Russell Payne

Big things are shaking at Cleveland ISD; with their constant growth issues and need to house more and more students, the district is doing more than just talking about it; they are finding solutions. Following the failed bond proposal for a second high school this past November, the district has been hard at work looking for ways to house students at the current high school, which is expected to see over 3,800 students in grades 9-12 next school year.

“The main issue, the most urgent issues remain at hand, even after that bond failed. That is the overcrowding at Cleveland High School. When you have that many students on a campus that isn’t built to hold that many,” said Interim Superintendent Stephen McCanless.

The district has devised a plan to utilize the old Northside Elementary campus, which will be empty after the new Northside campus is complete next school year. CISD will use the old facility by opening a Ninth Grade Center by repurposing the campus at about $1 million.

One of the other options would have been more portable buildings, but the district weighed that option, which included the addition of a portable cafeteria. That option, while doable, would have cost an estimated $1.8 million, far exceeding the cost of repurposing the Northside campus for freshmen students.

“You know we could have added more portables. You know we have portables all over the district. We looked at the option of buying portables, even a portable cafeteria. You are getting into millions, almost $2 million for that option, plus you will lose about 40% of your practice fields for athletics,” added McCanless.

With the addition of the new Ninth Grade Center, CISD will make some changes to their bell schedules, going from a two-tier to a three-tier system each day. The high school and ninth-grade campus will begin their day at 7 am and release at 2:40 pm, while the middle school campuses will start at 7:40 am and end at 3:30 pm, with all elementary campuses starting at 8:40 am and releasing at 4:20 pm.

The new ninth-grade facility will house between 900-1,000 students when school begins in August of the upcoming school year. There will be an associate principal and multiple assistants on the campus, while Dr. Kristy Dietrich will remain over both campuses as Principal.

The new ninth-grade campus will offer the same services regarding student services, athletics, fine arts, and CTE programs. All athletic classes will be held at the high school, with shuttle buses for students between campuses as needed. There will also be arrangements for students needing access to a course not offered at the ninth-grade campus as well.

Another area of importance will be school safety, and the new campus is expected to have at least two full-time officers and a campus safety monitor, but those numbers could increase.

A community meeting will be held later in the year to address specific questions related to school functions, classes, and other important information for students and parents. Anyone with comments or questions regarding the new ninth-grade facility is asked to email the district at