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Proposal could merge two Canton high schools

Schools Superintendent Adrian Allison presented Phase III of the Brighter Tomorrow Plan to the Board of Education Wednesday.
Adrian Allison

CANTON, Ohio -- Schools Superintendent Adrian Allison presented Phase III of the Brighter Tomorrow Plan to the Board of Education Wednesday.

The third phase of the district's transformation, if approved, will see McKinley and Timken high schools combined to form one unified high school in the Canton City School District.

"Right now we are not operating efficiently with our fiscal resources, so there is a need to do that," said Allison. "We have a low enrollment in our district, and we need to utilize our facilities efficiently, and we want to be excellent and provide excellent programming for students, and we feel like we can do that under one high school."

"Our Timken fans have gone to every basketball game, and this year's going to be our last one," said Timken graduate Ruthanne Sergi.

She says she couldn't hold back her frustration after she found out what might happen to her high school.

"I was in tears coming over here because this is a great school," she said.

The school will be called McKinley High School. Its colors will remain red and black, and the mascot will remain the Bulldog.

"They just wiped us out; no more Timken," said Sergi. "No more blue no more gold no more anything.

"McKinley High School is the largest high school in the city of Canton," said Allison. "It is named after a U.S. president, and it has state, national and local brand recognition so that is the basis of my recommendation, but I am open to doing something different."

Students at Timken say they don't want to move.

"For all I know is it's going to be a lot of fights," said Timken ninth-grader Laishawn Hudson. "I want to graduate a Trojan. I don't want to be a bulldog at all."

Allison says his plan has nothing to do with the NFL's plan to expand the Hall of Fame that's in the school's backyard.

"That's irrelevant," he said.

As part of the district's consolidation, Allison will recommend to the board that Fairmount Leadership School be closed at the conclusion of the 2014-15 school year. All specialty programs currently housed at the White Annex would be relocated to Fairmount. Also, the Early College High School, if approved, would move to the Souers building, where it will be with the Early College Academy.

"It is important to me that the Canton City School District is both efficient and excellent, and I believe that these recommendations move us in that direction," Allison said Wednesday. "Becoming 'one community, one high school' is the right decision for our students, and this is the right time to move forward. I'm excited for this plan, and I am hopeful that the community will come together to support it for the benefit of our children and our city."

Subsequent public meetings to discuss the plan will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 21 at Timken and at 6 p.m. Jan. 22 at McKinley. The regularly scheduled board meeting will take place Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. at Timken High School. The public will have an opportunity to express concerns during the public speaks portion of that meeting.

The board plans to vote on the plan at a special meeting on Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. at Umstattd Hall.

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