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- Let’s start with some more love for Springfield Sports Academy, a new athletics-centered charter school that opened last month. “Once you get culture right you can teach your kids and teach your teachers anything,” said Principal Travonna Hunter. “My goal here is to come, build a really strong culture where we know that we’re a team and we are on our own race.” Nice! It might not feel like it from the inside, but it does seem to me—from the outside, per this clips gig—that popular opinion on charters in Ohio may have turned a corner. About time! (Spectrum News 1, 9/25/23)
- Unfortunately, invoking the charter school “boogieman” is still a go-to move in some other corners (you know which ones I mean). Especially when it comes to districts providing transportation to district-resident students who opt for school choice. (See? I knew you knew.) At least it appear that the fear of being fined for stranding charter school kids is making some districts in the Toledo area say they will consider using new transpo flexibilities enacted in the most recent state budget bill. We’ll see how it plays out, but I’m sure the old status quo beckons really really loudly in those sad old corners. (Toledo Blade, 9/26/23)
- And there’s also the issue of excess school buildings. Salem City Schools in eastern Ohio is currently building a fancy new K-8 school which is planned to—if the current decline in enrollment continues—eventually take the place of four older buildings. And the district seems determined to raze them all to the ground rather than let “the competition” get first crack at buying them during a sale. (Yes. They actually said it like that on the record.) And it doesn’t even seem to matter that such a move would cost the district millions in demo costs and lost sales revenue. Yowza. (Morning Journal, 9/26/23)
- Speaking of a long and steady decline in district enrollment (were we, really?) Akron City Schools is thus afflicted as well. And the elected school board is, not coincidentally, planning to vote on “right sizing through attrition” soon, to the tune of $15 million. A tiny number of building closures (you know why) might come along eventually as well, but the august public servants seem prepared to ask voters for more money to serve fewer students as Plan A rather than opting for big picture “right sizing” as its first strategy. (Akron Beacon Journal, 9/29/23)
- Kudos as always to the Dayton Daily News for including all local charter schools, neighboring districts, and the regional STEM school in their annual Gem City report card analysis. It’s a cogent comparison this year, in my opinion, because Dayton City Schools is at a particularly low ebb while there are many charter (and STEM) options that look quite good on their own…and which look mighty good by comparison to the default. Why cogent? Because the new Dayton supe takes time out of his discussion of the district’s academic woes to express how he has a goal of encouraging charter school students to switch into the district and seems to think that the report card data will somehow play into the successful version of that strategy. Perhaps this is evidence of why popular opinion on charters is different than the opinion held by district insiders. (Dayton Daily News, 9/29/23)
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