A plan to trade the Central-Hower High School building for University of Akron scholarships is on hold for now, but the district's specialized performing arts school has a new name.
The Akron school board voted to table a resolution accepting a $13.5 million dollar appraisal in giving the high school building to the university...in exchange for scholarship money for high performing students.
Board member Tim Miller brought up the motion to table. He says that he's concerned that the district settling on a set sum for Central-Hower could limit the scholarship program.
"I'd like to look at the appraisal valuation, that's something I haven't seen personally," Miller tells AkronNewsNow.com, "and would like to see possibly turning that into some kind of annuity so it perpetuates beyond $13.5 million."
Miller says the district should get growth out of the value of Central-Hower.
"I understand that there's not a pot of money to put into an annuity or into a foundation," Miller says, "but I would like to see some way for us to get some kind of growth in that figure."
Superintendent David James says the deal between the district and the University of Akron doesn't include "growing the money".
"That was not the initial discussion with the university," James says. "It was just exchanging the value of that property for that amount of scholarships."
The Akron district is using the Central-Hower building for its STEM High School, which would continue under university ownership.
The Akron school board will take up the matter again on Monday at a special meeting. The University of Akron must also approve the deal at its Wednesday meeting.
The legislation making the move possible was passed in Columbus, and is effective until the end of this year.
The school board did vote to give the Akron Public Schools performing arts program a new name.
Akron school board members approved a request to change the name of the Firestone School for the Visual and Performing Arts to "The Akron School for the Arts".
The program won't change and will still be a part of Firestone High School.
But George Bozeka, president of the group that fundraises for the school, Advocates for the Akron Visual and Performing Arts, says the Firestone name limits the ability to raise money on its behalf.
"If you can show that your grants and your fundraising is going to benefit a large area rather than just one school, then you're going to be much more successful," Bozeka tells AkronNewsNow.com. "Because there's only so much money to go out, and they want to be able to get biggest 'bang for the buck' when they make donations and they make grants."
Bozeka says the name change, approved unanimously by the board on Monday night, is also a more accurate reflection on the arts school's student makeup.
"Actually, most of the students that attend are from outside the Firestone cluster, so it's truly a regional program," Bozeka says. "And it is a magnet program. That's an old-fashioned name, but it is a magnet program for the entire Akron public school system."
The 230 students get accelerated college level courses in vocal and instrumental music, dance, theater and visual arts.
The new Firestone-Litchfield Community Learning Center will feature a separate wing for the Akron School for the Arts when it opens in the fall of 2014.