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Possible Columbus City School Closures Has Community Concerned

COLUMBUS (Rob Wells/Kate Liebers) -- The potential of closing seven Columbus City Schools has concerned many people in the community.

"I feel bad for the kids in the neighborhood that have to be bussed when they can walk down the street," Rachel DuPuy said.

Others, like Marsha Runk, have nostalgic attachments to the buildings. She and her daughter both graduated from Brookhaven High School.

"Every neighborhood should have a high school and a middle school and an elementary, where kids should feel safe and be able to go to school," Runk said. 

In addition to Brookhaven, the other schools on chopping block include Independence High School; Monroe Middle School; Arlington Park, Maybury and Siebert elementary schools; and Fifth Avenue International K-6.

If the board of education approves the closures, 2,500 students would be reassigned to another one of the 114 schools in the district.

Education officials said the decision to close a school is a difficult one to make, but it is their only choice after voters rejected a levy proposed last November.

"As a result, we have to make reductions," said Jeffrey Warner, CCS district spokesperson. 

The closures could save the district $50 million.

District representatives said that if Brookhaven and Independence close, it will be the first time Columbus has shuttered any high school since 1982.

At least two public forums are to be held before the board makes a final decision, which is expected to be announced March 4.

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