Scroll down for the most
frequently-asked questions about the Facilities Master Plan, or
click here for a copy of the plan to view, download the free Acrobat Reader.
What is the Facilities Master Plan?
The Facilities Master Plan is a long-range plan to rebuild or
remodel Akron’s school buildings. The
Facilities Master Plan is based on the Ohio School Facilities
Commission design requirements and
community input from Akron citizens. Construction on some of the buildings in Phase I of the plan
began in 2005.
How is the construction project funded?
The project is jointly funded by the state and the local
community. Akron Public Schools, the city of
Akron and the OSFC are partners in the building project the
largest construction opportunity in the
history of Akron. The new or renovated buildings will become community learning centers. The state
funds 59% of the project, and the balance is funded with revenue
from a city income tax which the Akron community passed in
2003. The district must follow the OSFC’s rigid design and enrollment
guidelines to remain eligible for state funds.
Why is the district altering the Facilities Master Plan?
Like all plans, the Facilities Master Plan must change to
reflect the district’s current needs. The OSFC
requires districts to continually review their plans to assure
that the new buildings are appropriate for
each district’s enrollment size.
Is implementation of the Facilities Master Plan completely driven by
The Akron community also plays an important role in the number
of schools we operate. When
parents choose to send their students to charter schools, APS
enrollment drops. When enrollment
drops, the district’s construction project must be scaled back.
The OSFC does not allow the public to
vote on school closings.
Akron’s task force representatives negotiated with the OSFC to improve upon some of the OSFC’s
Why is student enrollment important?
To ensure that districts do not overbuild, every three years the OSFC conducts studies to project
enrollment trends. The OSFC completed its latest enrollment
study for Akron earlier this year. The
study showed that APS enrollment has declined in the past 10 years and is projected to decline
further in the next decade.
Over the past decade, student enrollment declined 12% from 31,800 students in 1994 to nearly
28,000 in 2005. The OSFC study projects a loss of 1,500
additional students by 2014. Much of this
decline is due to students leaving APS to attend charter
schools. The number of charter schools
located in Akron has increased 121% since 1999. Although charter schools are the primary reason for enrollment losses, other factors are at play.
Enrollment in all Ohio urban districts is declining due to
population shifts to the suburbs. Ohio ranks
48 of 50 states in population growth; and its small, one percent
growth is primarily in suburban
areas. In Akron, a 20% decline in live births over the past
decade indicates that overall family size is
declining. In addition, the population of Akron has declined
2.3% since 2000.
The OSFC enrollment study points out that Akron is operating
more buildings than it needs for the
number of students enrolled. The OSFC will not fund construction
projects for schools with enrollments
under 350. Akron currently has 24 schools with enrollments less
Why can’t APS just pick up the cost of keeping all its
Akron has been offered an opportunity of a lifetime to
participate with the OSFC to replace its schools
with modern efficient community learning centers. The OSFC is
paying 59% of the cost. Without this
funding, it is unlikely that the district could ever afford to
renovate buildings. The OSFC requires that
every building meet its design requirements. As the district struggles to balance its general fund, it must
make decisions that keep the education
of its students as its highest priority. The only way APS could
ever afford new facilities is to take
advantage of the OSFC funding opportunity.
Since we’re building fewer schools, is it reasonable to assume
the project will cost less
and the income tax will be retired early?
The income tax that the community approved to generate the local funding share is in place for
30 years or until the project is complete whichever comes
first. There is no way to anticipate the
challenges we will face at each building site; but when the
project is complete and the bonds are
repaid, the income tax will be retired.