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Published: Sunday, 11/17/2002

2 charter school officials resign

Two board members of a financially struggling South Toledo charter school resigned yesterday, but Marvin Johnson, the board's vice president, said the school hopes to have a financial recovery plan in place when it meets Nov. 25.

Mr. Johnson said the Performing Arts School of Metropolitan Toledo, 630 South Reynolds Rd., owes between $400,000 to $500,000, which includes some lines of credit from banks.

Angry parents had accused the school's former executive director of fiscal mismanagement, and Kevin Fifer was placed on paid leave in September. Mr. Fifer was still on the board, however, until he and his wife, Cathy Fifer, resigned yesterday. The Fifers could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Fifer has said previously that much of the financial problems happened after enrollment went from 160 students to 88 students, which caused a dramatic drop in state funding.

Jim McGhee, a seventh and eighth-grade teacher at the school, was named temporary director after Mr. Fifer left and remains in that post.

Mr. Johnson said the board added Ina Blazer of Toledo as a new board member, which brings the board to three voting members and one ex-officio member. Mark Tantari also serves on the board, and Jane Murray is an ex-officio member. The board hopes to add more members in the future.

The school, which offers a college preparatory program with an emphasis on dance, music, and theater, now has about 155 students in grades seven to 12, Mr. Johnson said.

Mr. Johnson said among the financial items the board must discuss are how to pay the lease on the school building. He said the board also might consider laying off some staff, or moving some positions to part-time.

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