Columbus School Board votes to close 11 schools, delays decison on 12th

The Columbus public school board decided Monday afternoon that ten elementary and two middle schools WILL close at the end of this school year. The decision was made after hearing recommendations offered by the facilities assessment task force. But Second Avenue Elementary which was on the list yesterday may not close. Board member Karen Schwarzwalder made an amendment that Second Avenue and Hubbard Elementary Schools be compared to determine which one should close.

“Because of the way the template was constructed and because of an odd set of circumstances Hubbard did not emerge as a school that met the criteria on the template. And as a result we didn’t consider it.”

Schwarzwalder says Hubbard Elementary had a literature based program that caused the school’s population to be too high to be considered for closure. She says that literature program could have been implemented at any school and that Hubbard’s numbers would have been low enough to be deliberated for closure.

Board president Stephanie Hightower, who voted against the amendment, says it could disrupt the closure process.

“I just think it opens up a can of worms. I don’t think that the second meeting in January is only going to be about those two schools. I think there’s going to be now, other people, who are now going to say well you didn’t consider this and you didn’t consider that. I think this is just the beginning of continued conversation.”

But parent Mike Jentes has three children at Second Avenue and says he’s very pleased with Monday’s decision.

“The school board took a bold move today. I’m glad they made the right choice. I believe in evaluating these two schools. When you’re talking about hundreds of students and their families and staffs, I think the school board really needs to make the right decision. I think today is a good step for the school board to say yeah we want to make the right choice.”

Some of the schools that will be closing include Beck, Gladstone, Main and McGuffey Elementary Schools. The two middle schools to close are Barrett and Crestview. The school board will decide at the second meeting in January whether Second Avenue or Hubbard will close at the end of this year.

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