EDUCATION: Meeting set to decide School 16’s fate

This story includes a new date and time for the School 16 school board meeting.


The Rochester school board will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 26, to decide the short-term fate of School 16.

The long-term future of the Post Avenue school will be decided in the context of a comprehensive inventory of the Rochester school district’s facilities. In the short term, however, School 16 will likely close and all students and staff relocated because of what Superintendent Bolgen Vargas says are pressing problems with the building. Those problems include peeling paint and floor tiles. One School 16 teacher said at a public hearing last week that there is excessive heat in the classrooms, and complained about mouse droppings.

More than one person at the hearing said that the problems at School 16 were well-known and well-reported, and it’s unconscionable that the school has been neglected for so long.

Three options for School 16 have been presented, but Vargas said after last week’s hearing that he would most likely recommend relocating all students and staff before school starts in the fall. The school board is expected to vote on a plan at the July 26 meeting.

On a more ominous note, Vargas said he would release a report in the fall on the district’s space needs versus its inventory. The school district has physical facilities for 40,000 students, he said, but will soon have fewer than 30,000. The ultimate fate of School 16 will be decided against that backdrop, he said.


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