LORAIN — Students at Southview and Admiral King high schools will all attend Admiral King starting in the fall, but the school will have a new name, colors, uniforms and mascot by then, school board officials announced Wednesday night.
The consolidation was the result of tough financial times and a declining student population, board President Tony Dimacchia said.
Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson revealed the anticipated consolidation plan to a standing-room-only crowd.
The Admiral King location is temporary until the district can build a new high school which is expected to be constructed by the fall of 2014, Atkinson said. Admiral King’s current principal, Diane Conibear, has been chosen to head the consolidated school.
The board is asking residents and students to suggest a new name, colors, mascot and fight song for the consolidated school.
They’d like to choose a new name by March 15 and are asking for suggestions from Feb. 22 through March 8. Suggestions can be mailed to the district’s administration building or submitted via the district’s Web site at www.loraincityschools.org, Dimacchia said.
“I think people have to realize we’re in a new era, and this will be a big positive for the district,” he said.
Not everyone is convinced.
Seventeen-year-old Tracey Robinson, a Southview senior, is worried territorial disputes between the schools will cause problems for her younger sister, who will be a junior in the consolidated high school next year.
“I’m worried about safety,” Tracey said. “I’m worried about everybody’s safety. Some of the violence, the gangs, the rivalry — it’s more than just a school thing. It’s on the streets, too. I’m worried the pressure, the emotion, the stress under one roof is too much.”
Dimacchia said he’s not worried about violence with all the high school students under one roof. While he acknowledged there has been youth violence in the city during the past year, “those aren’t Lorain Schools’ students. We have great kids at Admiral King, and we have great students at Southview, and we’ll still have great kids in one building.”
Resident John Wargo chastised the board for worrying about new names and mascots when the board is trying to pass a $5.9 million emergency levy in May to keep the district from being more than $7 million in the red by the end of the 2012 school year.
The placement of the city’s ninth-graders is still uncertain, Atkinson said, adding until final enrollment numbers are in, the ninth-graders may have to remain at the district’s three current middle schools.
The students at one of them — Whittier Middle School — will move into the Southview High School building in the fall while a new middle school is built.
The students at Irving and Lowell elementary schools also will be in new buildings in the fall with new names. Irving students will attend Hawthorne Elementary School at 20th and Oakdale streets and Lowell students will start at Lincoln Elementary School at 31st Street and Vine Avenue.
The consolidation also means a reduction of 22 percent of administrative positions and 15 percent of teaching positions — something board members hope will be averted by employees taking early retirement packages.
- Courses with limited interest will be eliminated.
- Class sizes are expected to remain about 30 students per class.
- New programs paid for with federal grant money will include the construction of a hands-on science lab; two years of coursework toward licensure for air-traffic control; and a culinary arts program.
- Students will have the ability to graduate with an associate degree from Lorain County Community College.
- Grant funds also will pay for an alternative energy technology program through LCCC.
- Busing will be provided for students who live more than two miles from campus, and there may be limited extracurricular busing.
- A partnership with Lorain police will result in resource officers on campus.
Contact Alicia Castelli at 329-7144 or email@example.com.