School building project downsized
Warren schools face a decrease in pupil enrollment.
By MAYSOON ABDELRASUL
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN — The Ohio School Facilities Commission decision to downsize the construction of new buildings in Warren City Schools is not uncommon.
Rick Savors, OSFC chief of communications, said the commission constantly monitors enrollment and the condition of the current facilities. He said the commission wants to make sure there’s the right amount of space for the pupils.
“We don’t overbuild because that is wasting money,” he said.
Projects in urban areas like Cleveland and Toledo get reduced frequently, he said. There are unexpected changes in enrollment and the commission and school districts have to consider that. He said Ohio’s population has been decreasing for some time.
Warren has experienced decreasing population, therefore a decrease in school enrollment.
Projected enrollment for the Warren City School District in the 2010-11 academic year is 4,784, according to DeJONG Inc., a Dublin, Ohio,-based company. That’s a decrease of 1,660 pupils from the last academic year.
In November 2003, district voters approved borrowing $40.7 million through the sale of bonds to finance the district’s share of a $153 million school construction project. The district is working with the facilities commission to replace all 13 of Warren’s current schools with one new high school and four new kindergarten through eighth-grade buildings. The high school and Lincoln school are in advanced stages of building.
Board of education President Edward Bolino said many people leave the area because of the lack of good quality jobs.
Many school districts — like Warren — have open enrollment, and parents can pick which district they want their children to attend, he said.
Another reason for the decline is that the city schools are in competition with charter schools.
He said it’s not easy to see the community losing people, but it’s a reality that everyone has to face.
“It’s disappointing to me that we have to downsize again,” he said.
The schools have implemented many new projects to keep current pupils and attract new ones.
He said they have aligned curriculum for pupils to pass state tests and made discipline consistent throughout the entire district. The schools have also implemented a dress code to keep the pupils focused on learning and not be easily distracted.
“We feel we made many improvements in our school district,” he said.