COLUMBUS, Ohio — A "Summer of Anxiety" is following the last day of school for parents with kids in the Columbus City School district. A facilities task force will be analyzing the district's 109 functioning schools over the next few months before recommending mergers and closures to the school board this fall.
"There will have to be some really tough decision made," interim superintendent Dr. John Stanford told ABC 6/FOX 28 . "Some people will not be happy with some of those decisions."
The district provided the task force preliminary data for the first phase of their discussions last week. That data provided a "starting point" based on school enrollment numbers, utilization rates of school buildings, physical conditions of buildings and the percentages of students who transfer in and out of an individual school.
Based on those four components, 11 schools started in the "to be considered" column. Those include Broadleigh, Como, Fairwood and Maize Elementary Schools, Hubbard Master School, Northgate Intermediate, Buckeye, Johnson Park, Medina and Mifflin Middle Schools and Beechcroft High School.
"We go and we vote," said concerned grandmother Debra McNeal with grandchildren at Como Elementary. "We pass levies for our schools but this school has not seen none of the money."
Data indicates Como averaged less than 400 students these last four years and staff uses less than 90% of the building. Como also has no scheduled building upgrades or improvements.
"Why? Our school doesn't matter? Our kids in this area doesn't matter?" asked McNeal.
Factors considered in the second and third phase of the task force's decision process may pull schools like Como out of risk for closure. They're been instructed to look at specific educational programs at an individual school, maintaining diversity along with considering the burden or impact a school closure would bring to a neighborhood.
The first draft of recommendations is scheduled for August. Public forums will be held in September for feedback to that list. Final recommendations will be given to the school board in October for a vote. All charges will take affect in the 2019/2020 school year.
What do you think about the schools on the list? Vote below on whether you think a school should stay open or should go.