August 20, 2014

Elyria
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BREAKING NEWS: Superintendent wants to close a Lorain high school

LORAIN — The Lorain Schools superintendent plans to recommend the district close one city high school by the end of the school year.

Admiral King

Admiral King

Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson said in advance of tonight’s 6 p.m. board meeting that a school consolidation plan will be presented to board members for consideration.

Lorain currently has two high schools – Lorain Admiral King on Ashland Avenue and Lorain Southview on East 42nd Street.

At this time, Atkinson said a decision on which of the two schools will close has not been made. School officials will solicit input from the public and discuss the consolidation plan more in the coming months before making a decision.

“The thinking is if we are going to go to one high school at some point, why not do it now and get some cost savings out of it,” she said.

The district is currently working with the Ohio School Facilities Commission to refine its master building plan and in the course of those conversations, it was determined that the state money would be allowed to build one new high school to replace the existing ones.

Southview

Southview

The plan to close a high school is the first step in outlining a plan to remedy a $9 million deficit the district will face in 2011.
Earlier this month, voters overwhelmingly rejected a levy attempt to raise more money for the district, forcing officials to look at several ways to cut cost for the upcoming school year.

“I think the people spoke through their vote and we would be less of leaders if we did not rise to the occasion,” she said. “This will be difficult, but necessary.”

Also included in the recommendation plan to be presented tonight includes the possibility of closing other schools. While no elementary or middle schools have been singled out for consolidation, Atkinson said both Irving Elementary and Whittier Middle School are slated for replacement in district’s capital improvement building plan and there will be talk of relocating students in advance of any construction to garner cost savings now.

With the closure of schools, staff may need to be reduced.

However, Atkinson said details are still being worked out as to how teachers and staff will be cut. Some may move to other buildings.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.