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Independence High Students Oppose Plan to Close School

COLUMBUS (Lu Ann Stoia/Ken Hines) -- Students of a central Ohio high school targeted for closure have taken to social media to plea for the institution's survival.

Posts to a Twitter account titled "Save I High" that advocates for the continued existence of Independence High School include "When it rains, it pours. But it can't rain forever." and "Those attendance numbers took time to decline. Someone should have noticed." 

The "Save I High" social media posts are the result of an effort by Columbus City School District officials to consolidate students to save money. 

The Columbus Board of Education is looking to slash $50 million in operating costs after a levy was turned down by voters in the fall or 2013. Board members are holding community meetings to discuss the proposed closures, the next of which is scheduled for Tuesday, February 25.

At the first public meeting on Thursday, approximately 250 people turned out to voice concerns about the consolidation plan. 

When making the decision on which schools would be affected by the move, the district's consolidation committee considered such factors as student capacity versus enrollment, and academic performance. 

The current plan calls for the closures of two high schools and five lower schools, and would cause approximately 2500 students to transfer buildings.

If the plan is carried out, it would mark the first time in 32 years that a Columbus high school has closed, according to district spokesman Jeff Warner. 

"When you are in the financial situation we are in, we don't have the luxury to set aside the facts." Warner said, while stressing that administrators understand the emotion of those affected, and appreciate the school pride they are showing. 

Warner said administrators will continue to seek feedback from the community, and are developing a fact sheet to answer some of the questions about how their decision will be made.

The Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the proposal on March 4.
 
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