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Published: Wednesday, 7/30/2008

Ohio told to begin Scott High School reassessment

BY MEGHAN GILBERT
BLADE STAFF WRITER

It appears Scott High School supporters will have more time to work toward a plan to renovate the historic building with an emphasis on improving the academics offered there.

The Toledo Board of Education last night approved a resolution that gives the Ohio School Facilities Commission the green light to get started on the final phase of the district's Building for Success program, which includes Scott.

The plan calls for two small high schools to serve about 530 students each as "place holders," with plans to amend the plan later and put those resources toward the renovation of Scott.

The OSFC funds 77 percent of the $640 million building campaign. The remaining 23 percent is paid with local money.

School board member Darlene Fisher called the plan "very much a leap of faith," contending that district took too long to address Scott's renovation and the public was not adequately involved.

"It is going to be a risk," she said.

The board will have until Nov. 7 to make a final decision - a renovated Scott or two new high schools.

During that time, the OSFC will pay $80,000 for a reassessment of the building on Collingwood Boulevard that will give a clear picture of how much a renovation would cost, taking into account special considerations the state will allow.

A full renovation could cost $40 million while the state's funding formula based on student enrollment will only provide about $28 million.

If that $12 million difference can be whittled down to a reasonable number that the district can afford, Scott would be renovated.

The resolution approved yesterday will be sent to the OSFC for a vote and then back to the school board for another vote.

For the first time in recent discussions about Scott, the board talked at length publicly about not only addressing the structure but also the curriculum.

Scott was redesigned at the start of the 2004-05 with a grant from the KnowledgeWorks Foundation for three small schools in the building, which some community members say is not working.

"Unless we almost instantly begin to develop a new concept of an enhanced Scott, like now, I think that what we are doing today is close to a charade," board Vice President Jack Ford said.

He said it's important to add programs that would attract students; otherwise there will be a good looking building with no students in it.

The Scott Alumni Association, in a statement, said it is "cautiously optimistic" about the board's plan and looks forward to working with the administration as this moves forward.

Avie Dixon, a 1964 Scott graduate, said, "This is a brighter day," and she appreciates the academics discussion.

"We are going to put them to the challenge," she said.

At the beginning of the meeting, Jeff Nelson, an Old West End resident and member of the Save Our Scott group, gave board members petitions signed by 2,380 people during a 17-day period expressing their desire to renovate Scott.

Contact Meghan Gilbert at:

mgilbert@theblade.com

or 419-724-6134.



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