Tuesday, June 27, 2000

CPS board approves charter school in East End

By Andrea Tortora
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A charter school called the East End Community Heritage School, one of the first in the state created by a school district, will open in eight weeks.

        The school will lease the Highlands building from Cincinnati Public Schools for $61,200.

        There are 150 students from six school districts en rolled, said Bonnie Kroeger, one of the school's board members.

        The one-year lease agreement between CPS and the charter school takes effect July 1. The deal was approved by the CPS board of education Monday.

        East End Community School plans to educate up to 450 students in kindergarten through 12th grade within five years.

        “Many of these students are no longer in school, including one 10-year-old boy who has not been in school for a year,” Ms. Kroeger said. “These are the kids we were created to serve.”

        John Rothwell, CPS' charter schools manager, said the school's program of studies will focus on the East End's Appalachian heritage and efforts to reduce the neighborhood's high dropout and truancy rates.

        Official dropout rates for the East End stand at 49 percent, Mr. Rothwell said.

        Community members and the district say a K-12 school could help reduce attendance problems, which tend to crop up after the eighth grade.

        Charter schools receive public funding from the state but operate separately from local districts. They are run by nonprofit organizations.

        Cincinnati has five charter schools approved by the state with an enrollment of 1,800. As of January, Ohio had 47 charter schools with 10,000 students.

        Three new charter schools were approved by the CPS board in January, making Cincinnati the first district in Ohio to create its own charter schools.

        Cammie Montgomery, principal at East End, said the school will work with CPS administrators.

        “We still need volunteers to do work,” she said.


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