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State Superintendent Directs Closing of Two Community Schools

Release date: 10/18/2013

Dr. Ross questions practices of sponsor and ESC superintendent

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Richard A. Ross today directed the closure of two community schools by its sponsor and summoned the superintendent of the sponsor to his office to account for the dismal performance of its schools.

The Talented Tenth Leadership Academy for Boys and the Talented Tenth Leadership Academy for Girls, both located near northeast Columbus and sponsored by the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center, were closed for health and safety reasons following several visits from department employees.

According to reports, the schools were inadequately staffed and did not provide the proper level of supervision. Meals were not served at regular times and often were purchased at fast food restaurants. There are reports of several significant fights, thefts and property damage.

Students, parents and teachers corroborated the observations made during the department of education visits. In addition, department employees believe that neither school was providing an adequate education for its students.

“The sponsor of these two schools failed to provide the proper oversight and make sure the schools were upholding their commitment to provide a safe environment for students to be educated,” said Dr. Ross. “They did not ensure the safety of the students, they did not adequately feed the students, they did not accurately track the students and they were not educating the students well. It is unacceptable and intolerable that a sponsor and school would do such a poor job. It is an educational travesty.”

The North Central Ohio Educational Service Center is the sponsor for 21 other community schools in Ohio. This year alone, the educational service center has attempted to open 16 community schools including six schools that either failed to open or have been shuttered within a few weeks of opening, four schools that should never have opened as they were closed or not renewed by other sponsors, and at least four schools that are suffering from fiscal problems.

In addition, several of the community schools sponsored by the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center owe money to the state of Ohio for funding they received based on inflated enrollment estimates.

Dr. Jim Lahoski, superintendent of the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center, has been called to the department of education to meet with Dr. Ross and explain the poor approval and oversight practices the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center has provided as a sponsor.

“The Ohio Department of Education, the community school sponsors and the community schools must do a better job of making sure students who attend these schools receive a high-quality education,” Ross added. “Every boy and girl in Ohio deserves a first-rate education.”