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Published: Saturday, 8/4/2007

Alliance Academy terminates leadership

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A new governing board for the Alliance Academy of Toledo charter school fired its school leadership and removed four board members during a special meeting yesterday.

The board voted 4-0 to terminate the school s co-directors and founders Jerri Heer and Letha Ferguson.

The school s operations were suspended Thursday by its Columbus sponsor for academic and financial problems and refusing to replace its directors with a for-profit management company.

Buckeye Community Hope Foundation, the sponsoring agency which in Ohio charges a fee in exchange for granting charter contracts and overseeing the publicly funded schools selected three new board members: Sherita Evans, Judy Stone, and Tyrone Sturdivant.

They are all members of the governing board of Paul Laurence Dunbar Academy, a charter school at 331 14th St., operated by the for-profit Leona Group of East Lansing, Mich.

Mr. Sturdivant has been a critic of Toledo Public Schools. His wife, a former teacher, sued the school district, alleging discrimination.

Two board members, Richard Knapp and Frances Wexler, were retained on the board by the sponsor, said Albin Bauer II, an attorney with the Toledo firm of Eastman & Smith Ltd. which is representing the Buckeye Community Hope Foundation.

Ohio law permits people to serve on a maximum of two charter school governing boards, Mr. Bauer said.

Mr. Knapp was not present for yesterday s special meeting.

Board members refused to answer questions from reporters.

The new board also voted 4-0 to request that Buckeye Community Hope Foundation lift its suspension and to revoke a request made Thursday by the former school leaders for a temporary restraining order against Buckeye Community Hope Foundation s order to suspend operations.

Mr. Bauer said the new board would meet Tuesday to discuss hiring new management.

There was a long-standing history of academic nonperformance, he said.

Alliance Academy has never in its seven-year history ranked above academic emergency the state s equivalent of an F.

The school, which is in the former Macomber High School building on Monroe Street, enrolled up to 375 students in grades kindergarten through 12 last year.



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