The Toledo Board of Education last night authorized sponsoring a new charter school at St. Hyacinth Elementary after it is closed by the Catholic diocese at the end of this academic year.
Bishop Leonard Blair announced last month that the Toledo diocese would close three schools at the end of the academic year: St. Hyacinth, St. Agnes, and St. Hedwig.
Toledo Board of Education President Larry Sykes said the school district has an opportunity to keep the St. Hyacinth building open as an option for children currently attending.
"This is a very competitive market in terms of schools, and if we don't do it, someone else would," Mr. Sykes said.
The district currently sponsors Phoenix Academy, Polly Fox Academy, Brigadoon Academy, and Toledo School for the Arts.
Toledo Superintendent Eugene Sanders said there are no definite plans for the new charter school, and the district has not decided if it would lease or buy the Catholic school at 728 Parkside Blvd.
According to district documents, the school would have a "brain-based curriculum that will integrate knowledge about how different individuals learn and developed instructional strategies."
Jack Altenburger, superintendent of education for Toledo Catholic schools, said the church and the school district are still in the talking stage.
"It's a combination of the people being interested in keeping a school there, but we are not anywhere near anything formal," Mr. Altenburger said.
Three other Toledo Catholic schools, St. Martin de Porres, St. Mary's, and St. Jude, have been turned into charter schools after the diocese ordered them closed.
Mr. Altenburger said the church needs to be careful not to attract children out from Catholic schools into a charter school.
In other business, the school board agreed to:
●Negotiate a tax abatement and revenue sharing agreement with U.S. Coking Group relating to a proposed $350 million coke processing plant.
●Accept the lowest bids for site work and landscaping of the new Robinson Middle School. It will pay Geo. Gradel Co. $774,806 for the work. The school system has an agreement with the Ohio School Facilities Commission, which is providing 77 percent of the total project cost for the system's building construction program, which includes Robinson. The remaining 23 percent is being funded by a 4.99-mill, 28-year levy passed by district voters in 2002.