The slogan is “One Community, One School,” but some families in the Canton school district say a plan currently being proposed is unfair and unnecessary.
“I went here for a reason,” said student Mason Gibbs, “You’re ripping kids dreams away and it’s not right.”
District leaders held the first of two public meetings to address community concerns Wednesday night at Timken High School.
It was standing room only as thousands of parents, students and alumni filled the auditorium; where Superintendent Adrian Allison explained the plan to merge Timken with McKinley High School.
Mr. Allison said the restructuring is necessary to offset the cities declining population; which means less tax revenue and fewer students.
And the district’s leaders project that in 5 years, student enrollment will drop to just over 8-thousand students district wide; with only 21-hundred in high school.
Mr. Allison says, they are also anticipating losing current state funding that’s been keeping them afloat.
“We have fiscal challenges like every other district so our goal is to right side this situation, to make sure we are both efficient and excellent,” said Allison.
The plan is to convert Timken into a 9th grade only academy, and all 10th, 11th and 12th grade students would attend to McKinley H.S.
The plan also includes cutting 20 positions: 3 administrators, 8 teachers and 9 support staff.
After the larger assembly Wednesday, adults met in smaller groups to discuss ideas and options.
The superintendent says everything will be taken seriously.
He says, they’ve already integrated a student’s suggestion to give all current Timken students a Timken diploma regardless of where they graduate.
But the alumni association says that’s not enough and questions the rush to change. Bill Trbovich says, they should gradually close Timken and allow all current students to graduate at Timken.
Another mother questioned the districts sincerity and their idea of a merger.
“This is not a merge,” said Juanita Robinson, “This is a force to conform to another standard, if we’re doing a merge, we’re going to change the school name and bring 2 schools together under one, change the school colors, the team name everything.”
The next meeting is Thursday in the McKinley High School cafeteria from 6 to 8 PM.
The school board will review all of the information at a public board meeting on February 9th and then vote on the proposed plan on February 25th at McKinley H.S.