Akron Schools at Risk of Closing

[Photo: NARUMI/ Flickr]
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by Tim  Rudell

Continuing enrollment declines in Akron’s public school system could spell the end for one or more of the city’s well-known high schools. That’s because funding for a massive school re-building program in Akron is affected by the student population numbers.

A dozen years ago Akron voters OK’d a tax to pay for part of redoing the city’s school infrastructure; and, the state of Ohio agreed to pay the rest based a per-pupil-being-served formula.

Twenty-nine projects later, that formula is coming into play as the program gets to some of the high schools. North and Kenmore, for example, have continued to shrink over the years—down now to barely more than half the students they were originally built for. Akron Superintendent David James recently told a community meeting that means money from the state is shrinking too...and that means one or both schools may have to close.

“There were a lot of angry people.  And I understand their anger.  But I have to think about the whole district.  Well, why do upgrades to buildings when we have other buildings that have extra capacity that are newer—that we could merge—versus putting money into buildings that we really don’t have the students to keep filled,” said James.

Akron’s Schools Construction Commission will review the options at its fall meeting. 

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