In a surprise move Tuesday night, the Toledo Board of Education announced plans to save the district's two single-gender elementary academies, which were scheduled to be combined after a tax levy failed earlier this month.
Board members approved the measure at a regular board meeting to break up the genders at Martin Luther King, Jr., school and create an all-boys school there.
Boys at Lincoln Academy will be moved to MLK and Lincoln will be shut down. The girls at MLK will be moved to nearby Ella P. Stewart Academy for girls.
The two single-gender schools are crown jewels in the district's experimentation with novel programs and teaching methods.
Student performance has improved at the schools, and parents and residents pushed for them to remain open. The school system said it needed the savings of merging the two schools as it tried to close a projected $30 million budget deficit next school year.
That deficit has grown to $39 million, and while a slew of cuts and layoffs will take place, the single-gender programs were saved.
Francine Lawrence, president of the Toledo Federation of Teachers, responded that teachers at the schools hadn't been notified.
Earlier proposals were for the students to have single-gender classes but with all the students in the same building. The new plan is better, Jan Kilbride, chief academic officer for Toledo Public Schools, said. "Some students do learn differently," she said.