CPS plan: Shut Windsor Elementary

Tuesday, October 6, 1998

The Cincinnati Enquirer

A preliminary facilities master plan for Cincinnati Public Schools recommends closing Windsor Elementary School in Walnut Hills, school officials said Monday.

The recommendation was unveiled Monday night during a meeting with school principals and invited members of the community and schools directly involved.

About 60 people attended the meeting at Frederick Douglass Elementary School in Walnut Hills.

Windsor, with about 300 students, is at 937 Windsor Ave. The 109-year-old building has a 98.6-percent black student body. "The facilities master plan didn't give a time frame for when it should be closed in its preliminary recommendations," school board Member Harriet Russell said at the meeting.

Students at Windsor would be absorbed by at least three schools -- Parham, Douglass and Hoffman, according to the recommendation. In all, the recommendation calls for closing 19 schools. Of those, 14 would be rebuilt or renovated, with a net loss of five schools. Windsor Principal Joyce Smith said she left Monday's meeting with mixed feelings.

The names of the other schools were not released, she said.

"Too little information was given," she said. "How can you really present a program when you're only allowed to see bits and pieces of it?"

The committee making the recommendations, working with consulting firm Steed Hammond & Paul, has been at work for 18 months.

The master plan was scheduled to be released Sept. 29. But that was delayed because it didn't evaluate high school facilities as district leaders wished.

Now, it is to be released late this month, school officials said. Monday night's meeting was one of several to come.

Ms. Russell said officials "encouraged people to put down their questions and concerns. These . . . will be considered by the entire facilities master plan committee during the next meeting," at 4 p.m. Oct. 15.

Some of those in attendance said information released in the meeting was vague and that they were not satisfied with answers to their questions.

The Cincinnati Enquirer was barred from attending.

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