TPS votes to close Libbey High School doors

Libbey High School will close at the end of the 2009-2010 academic year.

After months of protest and debate, the Toledo Public School board has voted to close Libbey High School.

The board voted 3-2 in favor of closing the historic South Toledo high school at a meeting held Tuesday night. TPS board President Bob Vasquez and Vice President Lisa Sobecki and board member Brenda Hill, voting to pass the motion made by Hill, cited a failed May 4 tax levy as the main reason for closing Libbey.

TPS faces a larger than previously thought budget deficit for the next academic year. The forecasted deficit stands at $39 million, which is about $9 more than originally determined. Closing Libbey High School, which has seen declining enrollment and a decreasing population in surrounding neighborhoods, will save the district at least $1.5 million moving forward.

The board of education also decided, on Tuesday, to reverse its decision to shut down two single-gender elementary schools. Boys and girls at Martin Luther King, Jr. will be transferred to Lincoln Academy for Boys and Ella P. Stewart Academy for Girls, respectively. The single-gender schools had been slated to close as part of budget cuts proposed by the district earlier this year.

In the midst of an increased projected deficit, the district is also looking to put teaching positions on the chopping block. The Toledo Federation of Teachers has asked that the district hold off on handing out pink slips. Teachers protested the possible cuts Tuesday.

The district has until June 30, 2010 to deliver a balanced budget for the next academic school year.