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CCS Announces Potential School Closures

COLUMBUS (Kate Liebers) -- Columbus City Schools district officials announced Friday that seven schools were recommended for consolidation at the end of this academic year.

The recommendation follows the failure of the Nov. 2013 operating levy and bond issue, which forced the district to reduce its expenses by about $50 million for the 2015 fiscal year budget, according to CCS spokesperson Jeffrey Warner.

With about 51,000 students spread across 114 schools, "the District's capacity exceeds its current enrollment," Warner stated.

The buildings a School Consolidation Team recommended include Brookhaven and Independence high schools; Monroe Middle School; Arlington Park, Maybury and Siebert elementary schools; and Fifth Avenue International K-6.

Warner said the following aspects were considered as the team made its recommendation: 

1. Educational program (i.e., efficacy of educational program at a building, accommodation of the planned educational program in the schools remaining open).
2. Capacity (i.e., space for the efficient, effective and educationally sound organization of the total enrollment).
3. Safety and access (e.g., student safety and ease of access to the building; distance, time and cost of transporting students).
4. Relocation (i.e., number of students whose school assignment will be changed, capacity and projected enrollment at receiving school).
5. Burden (i.e., equitable sharing by students throughout the district of the effects of school closings).
6. Diversity (i.e., impact on socioeconomic status and race and ethnicity in the schools).
7. Accessibility for the handicapped (i.e., present or potential capability of the building to accommodate handicapped persons).
8. Age and condition (e.g., operation and maintenance costs, transportation costs, cost of closing facility, energy consumption and costs, and cost to renovate.
9. Future use (e.g., marketability, conversion to another use, sale, or use as an alternative school).
10. Circumstances (i.e., unique situations within the school or district, impact of closing on neighborhood or community).
11. Student enrollment trends (i.e., projected assigned population and anticipated residential growth or decline) and space to accommodate choice of community schools and open enrollment.
12. Space to accommodate community/school collaborations and other district initiatives.
13. Location and site characteristics.
14. Ability to maintain feeder patterns from elementary school to middle school to high school to assure K-12 continuity.

Warner said the district would hold community meetings before any final recommendations are presented to the board of education on March 4.

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