Siebert Elementary School will remain open after all.
Once slated to close, along with seven other buildings in the Columbus City Schools district, the school board reconsidered at its March 4 meeting.
Siebert and Independence High School were spared from closure, but Brookhaven High School, Monroe Middle School and Arlington Park, Maybury and Fifth Avenue International elementary schools were ordered to be shuttered, as the district tries to trim $50 million from its budget.
Parent Jeffrey Davenport, who lives in the neighborhood, said he couldn't be happier Siebert was spared. His two children who attend Siebert have forged strong ties with teachers and staff.
"Our kids think of them as a second family," Davenport said.
The board reached its decision after two lively and emotional public meetings, at which hundreds of parents, students and faculty spoke in favor of their schools.
Still, school officials said the district needed to make some tough fiscal decisions following failure of a 9.01-mill operating levy in November.
Siebert, 385 Reinhard Ave. in German Village, is an open-enrollment school, which means if there is classroom space the school will accept interested students.
Parent Shari Woodland, whose two children attend Siebert, lives several blocks east of the school in Ganther's Place. She said her kids would have been reassigned to Lincoln Park Elementary School, something she found unacceptable.
"It's a wonderful day for me," Woodland said. "You couldn't ask for a better faculty" than the one at Siebert.
Kim Bandy, a pre-school teacher at the school, said Siebert is known to serve a wide variety of needs, from pre-kindergarten to learning disabled to English as a second language learners. The school enrolls 84 children from 12 different countries.
"We're a wonderful school," Bandy said. "We are a family."
The board's decision will not affect the district's plans to make Stewart Alternative Elementary School, a regional lottery school, meaning it will have room for neighborhood students.
That should be in effect this fall. Attendance boundaries for Stewart, however, have not yet been defined.