The Akron school district is ramping up resources pouring into its newest school while looking to dispose of 10 of its oldest schools that are now void of students.
Akron school board members voted unanimously Monday to accept additional money from the LeBron James Family Foundation for the I Promise School, bringing the foundation’s total contributions to nearly $3 million.
The foundation’s additional $412,101 accepted Monday will go toward additional student mentoring, tutoring and coaching supports; the extended-day Illumination Period, where kids have an extra hour of school for extracurricular activities; a full-time assistant principal, which was previously a part-time position; and additional substitutes for days staff members have professional development, which takes place every Wednesday.
The contribution is in addition to $343,000 that the board accepted from the foundation in June for reducing class sizes and other supports.
Over the course of building the I Promise School, which opened in July, the foundation also gave more than $2 million for building improvements, technology for classrooms, furniture, wiring and the school's family resource center, which provides resources for the students' families.
Board members thanked the foundation after the vote for its continued support.
The board also voted to move ahead with disposing of 10 district buildings that are currently used for storage of various district equipment, supplies and records, much of which has resulted from consolidations during the districtwide facilities upgrade project over the past 15 years.
“This helps us right-size the district,” said Deb Foulk, the executive director of business affairs for Akron Public Schools.
The buildings are:
Adult Vocational Services Building, 147 Park St.
Bettes Elementary School, 1333 Betana Ave.
Erie Island Elementary School, 1532 Peckham St.
Goodrich Middle School, 700 LaFollette St.
Goodyear Middle School, 49 N. Martha Ave.
Hotchkiss Elementary School, 33 Dorcas Ave.
Lawndale Elementary School, 2330 25th St. SW
Lincoln Elementary School, 175 W. Crosier St.
Rankin Elementary School, 415 Storer Ave.
Smith Elementary School, 941 Chester Ave.
Foulk said schools will be offered up for auction one by one, and the process could take up to 18 months.
District Treasurer Ryan Pendleton said the goal is to dispose of the buildings in a way that will provide the best value back to taxpayers, whether through accepting a bid from an interested buyer at auction, partnering with the city or county for future land swaps or converting them into residential areas for a change in tax status.
The value of the buildings has not been calculated, but it would likely only be enough to make minor renovations in other schools in need of repair, Pendleton said.
Also during the meeting, board members Lisa Mansfield and the Rev. Curtis T. Walker were recognized by the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA). Mansfield was honored for her time on OSBA's board of trustees, while Walker was nominated for an All-Ohio School Board award.
Theresa Cottom-Bennett can be reached at 330-996-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Theresa_Cottom.