Don't close Libbey High School, Toledo Technology Academy, or Toledo Early College High School, and preserve specialized art and music instruction.
The statements differed last night, but their content was the same as about 45 residents of the Toledo school district spoke at Rogers High School at the Board of Education's second and last public hearing to receive feedback on how best to close a $30 million budget gap projected for next year.
Board member Larry Sykes also held meetings Monday and Tuesday.
Last night's speakers were about half the number who spoke at the board's hearing Wednesday at Start High School. About 130 people showed up at Rogers, compared to 700 at Start.
The Rogers hearing attracted about 27 supporters of Libbey, according to Larry Baccus, president of the high school's alumni association. Mr. Baccus told the board it had good reason to keep the high school operating.
"There is not a school in TPS that has produced more productive and responsible citizens than Libbey High School," he said.
The board is soliciting public input before it implements a list of cuts that could mean closing schools including Libbey, Toledo Technology Academy, Toledo Early College High School, and the district's single-gender schools, the Stewart Academy for Girls and the Lincoln Academy for Boys.
The cuts could also eliminate athletics, specialized elementary school art and music, and physical education. The board will finalize two lists of cuts at its Tuesday meeting - one totaling
$30 million and another $17.5 million.
The $30 million list will be adopted if voters reject the strapped district's request for a 0.75 percent tax on earned income on the May 4 ballot. The $17.5 million in cuts will be implemented if the tax passes.
The income tax, if approved, would generate $18.1 million annually. The tax would apply to district residents no matter where they worked.
Bonnie Herrmann was typical of speakers who encouraged the board to look for other places to cut costs before closing schools.
"Outsourcing has been used as a cost-saving measure in the business community for years. And while I respect that jobs within our district would be lost, outsourcing things like payroll and benefits administration, information technology support, groundskeeping, and building maintenance would assist in cutting costs that do not directly affect the classroom," she said.
Elaine Keeler told the board her son, who is a sophomore at the Toledo Technology Academy, would be sent outside the district if his school closed.
"We need to build a better work force that will help us compete in the world," she said. "Closing excellent schools will not do that."
Drew Legendre, a Bowsher High School senior, wanted the board to preserve art and music instruction.
"While some students don't excel in the classroom, they do excel in art and music," he explained.
Teachers are prohibited by their TPS contracts from addressing the board, but this didn't stop some of them from greeting people outside the building with placards reading "Don't cut arts" and "Art is smart."
One of them, Janice Rogacki, said she was a specialized-art teacher at Sherman, King, and Navarre elementaries. Eliminating teachers like her, who specialize in art, would leave art instruction to the classroom teachers "who will not have the time," she said.
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