Columbus City Schools are moving ahead with plans to renovate buildings for a new “language schools” feeder pattern, and creating new administrative positions downtown.
Alison Holm has more.
The school board Tuesday night approved transferring nearly $30million from the district’s general fund to facilitate renovations at three buildings that are part of a new language program feeder pattern approved in February. $14million will be spent at Columbus North International, $11 million at the Global Academy at Brookhaven, and just under $5 million at Dominion.
The renovations are among the recommendations made by last year’s Facilities Task Force, a plan that was largely shelved in November. The decision to reorganize the three schools – plus Spanish Immersion, Ecole Kenwood, and Hubbard Mastery – into a complete feeder pattern with a language emphasis was approved in February. District officials presented the board with a price tag for the renovations last month, but some board members balked, saying those funds needed to come from the districts construction budget. Board members Tuesday approved transferring the $30 million from the general fund to the capitol improvements fund without further discussion. Renovations are expected to take 18 months.
The board also approved spending $148,000 to create two “cooling zones” for the Columbus Alternative High School, which lacks air conditioning. That work will be completed this summer
With nearly three months under her belt, Superintendent Talisa Dixon is continuing to reorganize district administration. District chief of staff Maria Stockard will step down to become a building principal. And chief academic officer Alesia Gillison will become chief of engagement. Dixon says in the newly created position, Gillison will strengthen community partnerships and make sure they align with district goals.
Dixon is also reorganizing the district into six geographic regions. The five executive directors organized by grade levels will be replaced by six regional superintendents.
“The area superintendent will have a regional focus. Currently we organize by elementary, middle and high school. So, this reorganization will allow this person to oversee those regions k-12.”
Dixon says a similar system is in place in Cleveland and Cincinnati public schools. And the new positions are offset by retirements and vacancies, and will not add to the number of district administrators. While the positions have already been advertised nationally, Dixon says current executive directors can also apply. The six regional divisions will be announced in upcoming weeks. And Dixon says there will be more organizational changes, as she finishes her first hundred days.