Public Hearings Planned On Possible School Closures

The Columbus City Schools’ board plans a special meeting on the proposal Tuesday. A decision is expected in about a month.(Photo: Flickr)
The Columbus City Schools’ board plans a special meeting on the proposal Tuesday. A decision is expected in about a month.(Photo: Flickr)

Columbus school leaders will meet with parents, businesses, and other stakeholders about the proposed closure of seven district schools, including two high schools.

The first of two public hearings is planned for Thursday night at Fort Hayes High School.

Several people spoke at last night’s board meeting to oppose the possible closures, including Ava Johnson.

“They need to look outside the box as far as trying to deplete the $50 million deficit,” Johnson said.

“Instead of closing schools, let’s come up with another way to preserve the schools.”

The district has said it needs to cut $50 million from next school year’s budget, but money isn’t being cited as a reason for the possible closures.

When asked how the board would integrate students from shuttered schools into other buildings, board member W. Shauna Gibbs said “it’s not the board’s first rodeo.”

“We have closed buildings almost every year that I have been on the board,” Gibbs said. “We have a system where they are relocated, they are transitioned. That seems to work very well.”

Buildings up for possible closure include Independence High School and Brookhaven High School.

Lower schools proposed for closure are Monroe Middle School and Arlington Park, Fifth Avenue, Maybury and Siebert elementaries.

School board members on Tuesday also picked former Columbus City Council member Mary Jo Hudson to fill out the term of the recently-resigned Carol Perkins.

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