May 9, 2024 - News

Columbus City Schools eyes building closures

Illustration of a chalkboard with "Sorry We're Closed" written in chalk.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nearly two dozen Columbus City Schools are candidates for closure under a new package of proposals by the superintendent's facilities task force.

Why it matters: School consolidation is seen as a way for CCS to manage expenses and rid the district of old buildings needing costly repairs.

Driving the news: The task force presented initial recommendations to the school board on Tuesday.

  • The task force was named earlier this year following voters' approval of a CCS levy funding general operating expenses and ongoing facility maintenance.

What they're saying: Superintendent Angela Chapman emphasized that no immediate board action would be taken and the district wants to hear community feedback over the coming weeks.

  • She said half of CCS buildings are over 50 years old and require major renovations.
  • "We know the learning spaces of yesterday are not preparing our students for the opportunities of tomorrow."

Zoom in: The school board is considering nine different scenarios that would close certain buildings and change the grade levels at others to accommodate new students.

  • It's unclear how many of these scenarios the board will eventually approve.

Combined, the scenarios lay out possible closures at the following schools:

  • Elementary: Fairwood, Siebert, Moler, West Broad, Valleyview, Lindbergh, Cranbrook, Hubbard, Duxberry, North Linden, Northtowne, Innis, Broadleigh, Everett (elementary and middle school gifted programs)
  • Middle: Buckeye Middle School, Johnson Park, Sherwood, Old Eastmoor
  • High: Marion-Franklin, Columbus Alternative/McGuffey

The other side: Some teachers, parents, and students criticized the recommendations and, the Dispatch reports, an alleged a lack of transparency with the consolidation process thus far.

  • John Coneglio, president of the Columbus teachers union, resigned last week from the facilities task force over similar concerns.

Flashback: CCS received similar public backlash when considering closing schools in 2016 and 2018.

What's next: The district will host community forums and "gallery walks" for the public to view the scenarios and give feedback.

After that, the task force is expected to present a final recommendation to the school board in June.

  • Board members will vote that month to approve any building closures and consolidations, which would begin to take effect at the start of the 2025-26 school year.

Public meeting schedule:

May 16 gallery walks

  • 9:30am, Shepard Library, 850 N. Nelson Road
  • 9:30am, Parsons Library, 1113 Parsons Ave.

May 16 community forums

  • 5:30pm, East High School, 1500 E. Broad St.
  • CEC Assembly Room, 270 E. State St.

May 22 gallery walk

  • 10:30am, Whetstone Recreation Center, 3923 N. High St.

May 22 virtual meeting

  • 11:30am, link TBA.

May 23 gallery walks

  • 9:30am, Barnett Recreation Center, 1184 Barnett Road
  • 9:30am, Community Grounds Cafe, 1134 Parsons Ave.

May 23 community forums

  • 5:30pm Olde Orchard Elementary School, 800 McNaughten Road
  • 5:30pm, Briggs High School, 2555 Briggs

May 29 virtual meeting

  • 11:30am, link TBA.

May 30 gallery walks

  • 9:30am, Schiller Park Recreation Center, 1069 Jaeger St.
  • 9:30am, Bottoms Up Coffee, 1069 W. Broad St.

May 30 community forums

  • 5:30pm, CRIS Ohio, 4645 Executive Drive
  • CEC Assembly Room, 270 E. State St.

Radio Town Hall

  • 11am June 1, live on Power 107.5/106.3 and Magic 95.5

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