Schools Rebuilt But Lack Students

Monday, November 7, 2011

All five school buildings in the neighborhoods that surround East High School are top-notch. And this, in an odd way, is the problem.

The schools the district spent $73.6 million sprucing up are on average only 72 percent full. But the Columbus district, which is on a mission to close under-enrolled schools, won’t consider tossing aside its investment to shutter newly improved buildings.

Neighborhood activists are worried. Some wonder whether the district wasted its money and whether officials checked population projections before the first hammer was swung.

“That, to me, is the big question: Why wasn’t that considered when you’re investing that kind of money? Where was the foresight?” asked Willis Brown, president of the Bronzeville Neighborhood Association. “The return on that investment doesn’t look very good.”

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