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Published: 5/8/2004

Education council agrees to sponsor 4 charter schools

BY SANDI SVOBODA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A local education agency that sponsors community schools voted yesterday to assume the charters of four schools from the state, including two the Ohio Board of Education did not renew.

The Academy of Dayton and the Academy of Cleveland received two-year contracts yesterday from the Ohio Council of Community Schools, the former University of Toledo Charter School Council.

The council also granted charters to Middletown and Trotwood Prep and Fitness academies for 10 years each.

By law, the Ohio Department of Education must cease to sponsor charter, or community, schools by July 1, 2005.

J.C. Benton, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education, said the department's Office of Community Schools recommended to the state board of education that the Dayton and Cleveland academies not be renewed after end-of-term evaluations.

"Reasons for the nonrenewal recommendation involved concerns of both the financial and educational plans of the schools that were submitted to and graded by [the state's education department]," Mr. Benton said.

Allison Perz, liaison to the Ohio Council of Community Schools, said the council has reviewed contracts and has increased the schools' reporting requirements.

"We do not believe the department of education was a good partner for the schools," Ms. Perz said.

"They did not give the schools the type of support they needed to succeed."

The Ohio Council of Community Schools also approved five-year charters for three new out-of-town institutions: Northland Prep and Fitness Academy, Whitehall Prep and Fitness Academy, and Springfield Prep and Fitness Academy.

The Ohio Council of Community Schools renewed the charter for Toledo's Academy of Business and Technology for two years.

The Toledo school opened in 1999 and has two buildings. About 165 students are enrolled in kindergarten through third grade at the school's Woodland campus, and about 215 students are in fourth through eighth grade at the academy's Parkwood site.

Direct Instruction is the method that is used to teach reading. The academy also teaches business principles and introduces its children to business practices.

Joan Uhl Browne, chairman of the University of Toledo board of trustees, must sign the contracts, but they do not require board approval, Ms. Perz said.

Contact Sandra Svoboda at:

svoboda@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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