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Published: Wednesday, 6/12/2002

State agrees to terminate Village Shule

BY JAMES DREW
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF

COLUMBUS - For about 270 children who attend the Village Shule, a Toledo charter school, the last day of this school year will be Friday. That will be the school's last day as well.

The state Board of Education yesterday agreed with the decision by the school's sponsor, the Lucas County Educational Service Center, to terminate the K-6 school's contract. The school was cited for poor record-keeping and a sharp decline last year in proficiency test scores.

Gwen Wilson, the school's executive director, said the Village Shule concept may return within a few years, but school officials won't seek another sponsor soon or try to reopen as a private school.

“Many people don't understand that charter schools are a small business combined with an educational institution. To do the small business part, you must have a lot of support,” she said.

The school, divided between the SeaGate Centre and the former Macomber High School, had an enrollment of 270 this spring and mixed dance, drama, music, and other arts into basic core classes like reading and mathematics.

The Lucas County Educational Service Center notified the charter school last November that it would not renew its contract for the next school year.

Ms. Wilson said Village Shule officials agreed April 9 to let the educational service center take over the school's financial management.

She said a lack of secretarial help prevented her from getting the paperwork finished until April 11, the same day the educational service center announced it would terminate the school's contract.

Ms. Wilson said Village Shule had the information that the educational service center requested last November, including updated records for staff certification and criminal background checks.

But Tom Baker, superintendent of the educational service center, said yesterday that Village Shule still had not supplied the information he had requested.

State board member Richard Baker said proficiency test scores at the charter school “totally fell apart” in 2001 and the school was plagued by management problems.

Ms. Wilson said test scores had declined because the school enrollment had jumped from 140 to 270, but scores improved this school year.

Mr. Baker said the educational service center has sent letters to parents to help their children find new schools for the upcoming school year.

Ms. Wilson said private, public, and other charter schools are competing for Village Shule students.



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