Many charter school sponsors failing

According to the Ohio Department of Education, nearly one-third of the state’s current charter school sponsors are not meeting standards. Twenty-one organizations received “poor” ratings, while 39 others were rated “ineffective.” These latter groups are barred from sponsoring any additional schools until they create improvement plans and show they are addressing problems. Of 65 sponsors, only five were deemed “effective, ” while none were rated “exemplary.” The sponsors manage 29 charter schools, all of which received “poor” state ratings. They won’t have to close, but many will have to find new sponsors. This evaluation is the first after the state was cited for omitting the results of failing schools and the Ohio Legislature passed reform measures.

Now, more than ever

CEA President Tracey D. Johnson recently commented at a United Way of Central Ohio Meeting: “There is something happening in our communities where our children have so many needs. Our children are more than a test score. They are coming to us with social and emotional and mental needs that we’re not equipped to deal with.”

During the meeting on Sept. 15 , which she was attending as a trustee, Johnson was responding tearfully to the news that 13-year-old Tyre King, a student at Linden-McKinley STEM Academy, had been shot and killed by police the night before. He was running from officers who were investigating an armed-robbery report on the Near East Side when he pulled a BB gun from his waistband.

King is the 28th student in the district to die, and the 24th to die as the result of violence. CEA’s Social and Economic Justice Committee, led by Johnson, is working to help our families and their neighbors improve their lives. Stay tuned in to the CEA Voice for the work of this important committee.  Get involved.

Our students need you, now more than ever.

 

School tax headed for the ballot

The Columbus School Board voted unanimously July 21 to ask voters this fall for a 6.92-mill tax increase to pay for the district’s general growth. The 17-percent property tax increase (a 14-percent increase for commercial property owners) would be spent over five years to add 325 staff—including 76 intervention specialists, 41 positions for expanding pre-kindergarten programs, 34 instructional assistants, 25 social workers, 16 positions in career-technical education, and 16 school nurses. Meanwhile, $125 million would pay for backlogged maintenance items such as roof and parking lot repairs, with $4.4 million set aside for annual maintenance. The board will now spend time reviewing a community panel’s facilities report, including its recommendation to keep all of the CCS high schools open. The tax would cost a homeowner an additional $242.20 for every $100,000 of valuation.