CANTON, Ohio - The Canton Board of Education has officially voted to combine the city's two high schools into one next year.
Wednesday a public meeting was held in the auditorium at Canton McKinley with about 300 parents and students in attendance but before the vote was even finalized many angry and upset Timken families left.
Board members said they understand their concerns but that they must consolidate Canton Timken with Canton McKinley now in order to give the students the best curriculum and education possible.
The plan is to convert Timken into a 9th grade only academy, and all 10th, 11th and 12th grade students would attend McKinley H.S.
The plan also includes closing Fairmount Elementary and cutting 20 positions: 3 administrators, 8 teachers and 9 support staff through attrition.
Superintendent Adrian Allison said the restructuring is necessary to offset the city's declining population; which means less tax revenue and fewer students.
Allison says the move will save the district about 1.6 million dollars per year.
But Timken families are upset because they say their concerns have been ignored. The new school will maintain the McKinley name, colors and mascot.
One Timken student Dekovean Thorne said, “This isn’t a merger, it’s a hostile takeover.”
Even some McKinley students were sympathetic.
“I’m glad they kept it, but I feel bad for Timken though,” said Javon Stovall.
The superintendent says, advisory teams will be formed and consulted to help the transition go smoothly in time for the upcoming school year.
They will include students, parents and faculty and staff members.
But many Timken students aren’t ready to accept the merger.
Earlier in the day they walked out of class early and protested near their high school.
“They’re ruining my high school experience,” said Cassidy Jacobs, “It just feels wrong.”