Thursday, January 10, 2002
School officials unveil $1B building plan
By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Schools Superintendent Steven Adamowski said Wednesday he wants taxpayers to support a 10-year $1 billion plan to build 35 new schools and renovate 32 others.
If the plan goes through, 14 school buildings would close for good and there would be fewer buildings overall than there are today. That's in part because of declining enrollment and because many buildings are too costly to renovate.
Construction for the first new school could start as early as fall if the board of education approves the administration's building plan.
Cincinnati Public Schools will hold 12 forums to hear from the public on building proposals. Those meeting dates are:|
Jan. 15: North Avondale Community Center, 617 Clinton Springs Ave., 7-9 p.m.
Jan. 16: Roberts Paideia, 1700 Grand Ave., 7-9 p.m.
Jan. 17: Western Hills High School, 2144 Ferguson Road, 7-9 p.m. p.m.
Jan. 22: Jacobs High School, 5425 Winton Ridge Lane, 7-9 p.m.
Jan. 23: Woodward High School, 7001 Reading Road, 7-9 p.m.
Jan. 24: Taft High School, 420 Ezzard Charles Drive, 7-9 p.m.
Jan. 29: Hartwell School, 8320 Vine St., 7-9 p.m.
Feb. 5: Heinold, 2240 Baltimore Ave., 7-9 p.m.
Feb. 6: Clark Montessori, 3030 Erie Ave., 7-9 p.m.
Feb. 7: Walnut Hills High School, 3250 Victory Parkway, 7-9 p.m.
Feb. 12: Mayerson Academy, 2650 Highland Ave., 7-9 p.m.
Feb. 14: Withrow High School, 2488 Madison Road, 7-9 p.m.
I believe this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide every student with a world-class learning environment, said Kent Cashell, district business executive.
The CPS administration also laid out plans to raise the millions necessary for the massive construction and repair project.
In 1993, taxpayers defeated a $348 million bond issue for repairs at every school and computers and technology improvements. That issue was based on a report by Turner Construction Co. that detailed problems in all of the district's schools.
Mr. Cashell said the district will need to raise $500 million this time. A bond issue is sure to come.
The other $500 million would come from district coffers and the state.
The state is contributing money for building projects in every school district and has said it will offer CPS $200 million if the state and school district can agree on which schools to renovate and which to close or replace.
About $300 million more will come, in part, from annual payments in lieu of property taxes that the district gets from the city and Hamilton County for Paul Brown Stadium and the under-construction Great American Ball Park.
It's amazing news we can say to the community (this project) needs to be completed and we only need to find 50 cents on the dollar, Mr. Cashell said.
An evolving district
District leaders, however, will have to convince the community that 14 schools should close. The district will also have to move students in and out of buildings during construction over the next decade.
School closings are inevitable for two reasons:
Enrollment is declining.
Many schools are in such dismal condition that the state says they are too costly to renovate.
After assessments of every school last year, the state said 61 of the district's 76 schools should be replaced or closed. That number dropped to about 35 following negotiations between the district and the state to save historic buildings.
Among schools the district intends to renovate:
North Avondale Montessori, Cheviot, Rothenberg, Lafayette Bloom, College Hill and Hyde Park.
Among those scheduled to be closed:
Clifton, Kirby Road, Winton Place, Vine and McKinley.
Of the new schools to be built, 24 would be at their current sites and 11 at new locations. That includes a new Montessori high school in Westwood where Dater Montessori is now and a new school in the East End.
CPS' board must agree to the plan by June, but there is room for change. The community will have a chance to give input at 12 public forums scheduled through February. The first begins 7 p.m. Tuesday at the North Avondale Community Center.
Sue Taylor, president of the 3,000-member Cincinnati Federation of Teachers, said schools need to be rebuilt but teachers have been excluded so far from helping craft the facilities plan.
There has never been a bond issue or a levy for which CFT didn't get support, she said. It's nice to be involved in all phases from the ground up. Because we weren't involved in the process, we don't feel ownership of the plan.
Jan Leslie, district spokeswoman, said the forums will be an opportunity for community voices to be heard.
Frankly, we must take this out to the community and let the community tell us what they think.
Board member Harriet Russell said she thinks the public, the board and CPS administration will be able to agree on a building plan.
We owe it to the future of the city to do this and we owe it to the taxpayers to come up with a plan, she said.
Not only are we increasing educational opportunities for children, this will increase the property values for people who live in the district because school facilities will be better.
Reports on schools
Aiken High School
Anderson Place Elementary
Academy of World Languages
Carthage Paideia Academy
Central Fairmount Elementary School
Chase Elementary School
Cheviot Elementary School
Clifton Elementary School
College Hill Elementary School
Covedale Elementary School
Crest Hills Year-Round School
Dater High School
Douglas Elementary School
EasternHills Elementary School
Eastwood Paideia School
Hartwell Elementary School
Hays-Porter Elementary School
Heberle Elementary School
Heinold Elementary School
Hoffman Elementary School
Hyde Park School
Kilgour Elementary School
Kirby Road Elementary School
Linwood Elementary School
Losantiville Elementary School
McKinley Elementary School
Midway Elementary School
Millvale Elementary School
Mt.Airy Elementary School
Mt.Washington Elementary School
North Avondale Montessori School
North Fairmount Elementary School
Oyler Elementary School
Pleasant Hill Elementary School
Pleasant Ridge Elementary School
Quebec Heights Elementary School
Roberts Paidei Academy
Rockdale Paideia Academy
Roll Hill Elementary
RoselawnCondon Elementary School
Rothenberg Elementary School
Sands Montessori School
South Avondale Elementary School
Sayler Park Elementary School
Schie lPrimary School
Schwab Elementary School
School for Creative and Performing Arts
Shroder Middle School
Silverton Paideia School
Swifton Primary School
Taft High School
Taft Elementary School
Vine Elementary School
Walnut Hills High School
Washburn Elementary School
Washington Park Elementary School
Western Hills High School
Westwood Elementary School
Whittier Elementary School
Windsor Elementary School
Winton Place Academy
Withrow High School
Woodford Paideia School
Woodward High School
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