Columbus City School Board votes not to close or merge schools

Columbus City Schools called off plans to merge or close several schools in an unexpected vote Wednesday night. (WSYX/WTTE)

Columbus City Schools called off plans to merge or close several schools in an unexpected vote Wednesday night. That means Linden-McKinley High School would not merge with East, Siebert Elementary, Buckeye and Mifflin Middle schools will not close. Also, no middle school will be created at Marion Franklin or South High Schools.

Before the vote, the board heard 40 minutes of public comments against the proposed recommendations created by the district’s Facilities Task Force. The Task Force was created in February to look for ways to make district facilities and buildings more efficient.

Once after the presentation of recommendations, school board member Shawna Gibbs made a motion to only approve proposals dealing with boundary changes in a west and north side neighborhood. The vote was not expected to vote on the Task Force recommendations until the next school board meeting on November 20th.

“Doing a split-second resolution, in my opinion, is all emotion,” Board member Mary Jo Hudson said at Wednesday night’s meeting in response to Gibbs’s motion.

“You cannot overlook the emotion from the families and the communities and the programming and what it was doing to our community,” Gibbs told Scoring Our Schools. “It’s personal.”

Now keeping at least three schools open which were proposed to close, Scoring our Schools asked how the vote would affect the district’s bottom line.

“It will certainly limit what we do in Capitol dollars,” said board member Hudson. “This was an efficiency move. I don’t know what the fiscal impact is short or long term but we need to look at that and make sure that we go and eyes wide open.”

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