The Columbus City School Board is scheduled to vote on a raft of school closures at tomorrow's board meeting, but it looks like Independence High School and Siebert Elementary School may get a reprieve.
Both were on the initial list of seven schools proposed for closure in the wake of a failed levy request last fall, but the special team considering closures reversed their position on the two in a recommendation released today. In the case of Independence, the team says they were influenced by feedback from parents, staff and students that closing the east side school could significantly affect the feeder pattern. But they strongly encouraged Independence to focus on increasing enrollment at the school, which is currently at less than 60 percent capacity.
The southside's Siebert Elementary is a slightly different case. While at capacity now, the school is significantly smaller than other elementary schools in the district. Of 266 students enrolled, only 30 are from within the attendance area or home base of the school, meaning the bulk of students and parents chose Siebert deliberately -- a fact the closure team took note of.
The team is still recommending closing Brookhaven High School, Monroe Middle School and Arlington Park and Maybury Elementary Schools, as well as moving the Fifth Avenue International School to Hubbard Avenue. Officials say the closures and consolidations are projected to save 15 to 17 million dollars. Hundreds of supporters turned out to make the case for their school in a series of community meetings in February. The school board will vote on the recommendations at their regular meeting tomorrow night.