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CCS Board Asks For New Info On Moving Programs

Two months after shelving a task force's recommendations on closing and repurposing district buildings, the Columbus Board of Education is asking for more information on what to do with some overcrowded and aging buildings.  Alison Holm explains.

Over a three-hour meeting Tuesday, the board asked interim Superintendent John Stanford to  provide them with detailed information on projected student enrollment for the district, the financial and academic impact of closing buildings and moving programs, and feedback from the staff and families affected by any moves.  

Much of the information was ground covered by the Facilties Task Force last year. The
group of community partners sand district staff spent 7 months and seven public forums
researching options and gathering input, before presenting the district with several
controversial proposals in October. In November, the board voted to shelve “for further
study” the bulk of the recommendations.  

With two new members installed, the board wants that further study done now. One of
the areas of concern is the future of Dominion Middle School. The original Task Force
recommendation was to close the building, and move the program into the former North
High School building on Arcadia Avenue.  

Board members are also interested in the possibility of finding or building a new home
for the Columbus Alternative High School. The high-performing lottery school has been
housed at the former McGuffey Elementary School, a building with serious structural
issues. When the board shelved many of the Task Force’s recommendations last year,
they inserted and approved a recommendation to study finding a new home for CAHS.

School board member Eric Brown pointed out that much of the information his
colleagues are asking for had already been gathered. Brown – along with former board
member Mary Jo Hudson – protested the decision to shelve the Task Force’s work.
Hudson cited the board’s actions as part of her decision to resign. But board member
Shawna Gibbs defended the requests, saying that “every board member needs to be
comfortable” with any decision to move programs or close buildings.

A native of Chicago, naturalized citizen of Cincinnati and resident of Columbus, Alison attended Earlham College and the Ohio State University. She has equal passion for Midwest history, hockey and Slavic poetry.
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