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CPS interim superintendent asks board to consider plan to reorganize a handful of schools

Cincinnati Public Schools

The Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education members want more public input after Interim Superintendent Shauna Murphy presented them with a plan to reorganize some of the district's schools.

In the first phase of the plan, Murphy proposes relocating the Spencer Center magnet school to the first floor of Riverview East Academy as soon as this coming school year so the Center can eventually accommodate more students. Middle and high-school-aged students at Riverview would move to the second floor of the building. Eventually, those Riverview students would move to a different school entirely by the 2025-2026 school year so Spencer could use the whole building. Younger Riverview students would move to Mt. Washington School.

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The other phases include moving 7th and 8th grade students from Shroder High School to the current Dr. O'dell Owens Center for Learning building to create a new middle school. Additionally, students at the Dr. O'dell Owens Center and the Promise Center — the district's two schools for students with behavioral and academic difficulties — would then move into the Spencer Center building.

Murphy says the proposal remedies issues some CPS schools have with their buildings. The district says Spencer Center has turned away some students due to lack of space. Murphy also says it would put more students in school buildings that would better suit their needs, rather than being in a building that's either too small or too large.

"This plan addresses several things that this Board has been talking about for a long time," Murphy said during a Monday meeting. "My team and I are happy to get started on this work if you will allow it."

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While Board members didn't entirely oppose the interim superintendent's presentation, some questioned the urgency of it, saying it was too big of a change to spring on students and their families with a few months' notice.

"My perspective is that this is too fast. The kids have already left for the summer; the teachers have already left for the summer," Board member Ben Lindy told Murphy.

Still, Murphy insisted the time was right, despite the short deadline.

"I respect the thought around 'too fast,' but if you just think about the kid it would impact, and less of what is convenient or inconvenient for the adults in this situation... When I think of the location of the Promise Center (the Jacobs Center building in Winton Hills), I wouldn't want my child there. Wouldn't want it," Murphy said.

Board members told the interim superintendent they want to gather more input from the school community before approving a plan for the fall.

Updated: June 18, 2024 at 2:03 PM EDT
This article has been updated to clarify the side note about the superintendent’s comment about the Promise Center.
Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.