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Published: Friday, 6/16/2006

Sanders says TPS can compete

The former superintendent of Toledo Public Schools said the district can compete with charter schools but warned the system's enrollment may drop, triggering more school closings.

Eugene Sanders, whose last day as superintendent was May 22, said the district's enrollment - like that of all urban districts in Ohio - has been devastated by charter schools, but he predicted the movement eventually may come to an end.

During a taping of The Editors television program, Mr. Sanders predicted many of the for-profit management companies that operate the publicly funded charter schools eventually will pull out of the market.

Mr. Sanders will take over on July 1 as chief executive officer of the public school system in Cleveland.

The most difficult decision he said he had to make during his nearly six-year tenure running Toledo Public Schools concerned school closings. "It's closely aligned with balancing the budget around limited resources," Mr. Sanders said.

In April, the board voted to close King, Fall-Meyer, and Mount Vernon elementaries and Jones and East Toledo junior highs at the end of the 2005-06 school year.

Mr. Sanders praised a coalition formed by three members of the five-member Toledo Board of Education board who oppose its president.

Vice President Deborah Barnett and board members Larry Sykes and Steven Steel said they formed the coalition dubbed "3 for Children" to move the district forward. They said it was necessary that a majority of the board members take the initiative.

"Thank God they stepped forward a week or two ago and said enough of the shenanigans, let's get working," Mr. Sanders said.

Mr. Sanders was questioned by Thomas Walton, vice president and editor of The Blade.

The Editors will air at 9 tonight on WGTE-TV, Channel 30, and 12:30 p.m. Sunday on WBGU-TV, Channel 27.

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