After their draft proposal raised stiff opposition in certain neighborhoods, the group tasked with overhauling Columbus City School District facilities have developed some new ideas.
A Facilities Task Force presentation highlights community feedback gathered at a series of school forums around the city. Some concerns are concrete and specific, such as, "How will the district handle transportation for children shuffled to a school five miles away?" Other concerns are more abstract, tied up in how schools shape their community’s identity.
On the South Side, some wonder which mascot would survive if two high schools were merged, and how the district would manage longstanding rivalries. In Linden, residents worry a school shakeup could short-circuit city revitalization efforts.
Throughout, there’s a sense of "Why me?" summed up by Medina and Mifflin Middle respondents, who said, “We have done everything you have asked us to do, so why close us?”
An initial proposal would have converted Marion Franklin High School on the city’s South Side to a middle school. One of the new options would keep Marion Franklin as is, noting the space offers plenty of room for future growth. Under that plan, South High would convert to a middle school instead. Another recommendation would establish separate middle and high school programs under the same roof at South.
Other measures would close Siebert Elementary and Buckeye Middle.
Linden-McKinley STEM Academy would house a middle and high school in the same building under one proposal, or be closed outright and sold under another. Three proposals offer different landing spots for Columbus Alternative High School, housing it at North, East or Linden-McKinley High School respectively.
The facilities task force is weighing a total of eleven alternatives, with a vote on final recommendations slated for October 22.