Columbus City Schools

District makes final presentation on changes

By

Brenda Crumley told Columbus school officials Feb. 25 she didn’t want Seibert Elementary School to fall victim to their poor planning.

Crumley, an Eclipse teacher at Siebert, was among the speakers at a public meetingthat attracted hundreds of people Tuesday at East High School.

It was the second meeting held since district officials proposed closing several schools,  including Independence and Brookhaven high schools, Monroe Middle School, and Arlington Park, Fifth Avenue and Maybury elementary schools. It is unclear what will become of the buildings.

Crumley said district officials never warned the community that schools could close if the 9.01-mill operating levy failed on the November ballot.

The levy did, in fact, fail and Seibert is now one of seven schools on the list for closure in Columbus City Schools.

“Somebody’s dropping the ball,” Crumley said at the second and final public meeting on the proposed closures.

District officials said the closures, consolidations and relocations are necessary to trim $50 million from the budget over the next year.

Crumley suggested they start at central office.

“You need to take the cream off the top, let the teachers teach, let the students learn,” she said to thunderous applause.

At the Feb. 25 meeting, hundreds of people filled the auditorium at East High School. Much like the first meeting, held Feb. 13 at Fort Hayes Performing Arts Center, parents, teachers and staff asked board members to reconsider the plan.

Audience members, each of whom were given three minutes to speak, repeated earlier concerns about disruption in the learning process and breaking up friendships. They talked about tradition, bonds between students and teachers, and the hardships relocation would cause students and parents.

Final recommendations are expected to be made to the CCS board by March 4.

School officials said they wanted to make their decision by March 28, the deadline for school-choice lotteries for middle schools and high schools. The deadline for elementary lottery schools is April 11.

Superintendent Dan Good told the crowd that the district has started the ball rolling on cuts. For example, the district has eliminated administrative positions and looks to better manage its utility costs.

Still, there’s no getting around the numbers, he said. Some of the schools on the list to be closed are at less than half of their capacity and future enrollment is not expected to increase dramatically.

He said the group of nine administrators that recommended the school closures used a formula that takes into consideration things such as academic performance, age and condition of the building, future use and accessibility.

“They just looked at the facts,” he said.

Comments