Tuesday, October 26, 1999

CPS agrees to negotiate with 2 charter school groups

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Two more proposed charter schools moved closer to opening after the Cincinnati Board of Education agreed Monday night to negotiate contracts with their developers.

        If all goes smoothly, contracts would be signed by December and the schools would open in fall 2000.

        Proposals approved for negotiation:

        The East End Community Heritage School aims to “recover” dropouts and educate Appalachian students who struggle in traditional schools. It would enroll students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Developers include several East End residents and University of Cincinnati professors.

        Board member Arthur Hull abstained, saying he was undecided and worried about the proposed school's impact on McKinley Elementary, part of the upper East End.

        The Engineering and Technology Academy would offer a vocational curriculum for students in grades 7-12. Applicants Herb and Barb Smitherman want to charter Woodward's pre-engineering program.

        Board member Harriet Russell opposed it, saying it should be considered in the context of a comprehensive overhaul of the district's high schools.

        The board already is negotiating with three other groups to open charter schools. They are the Lighthouse and St. Aloysius community schools for students with behavior problems and disabilities, and Trade and Technology Prep, a vocational program targeting dropouts.

        In other business, the board heard from James Engel, a Taft High School teacher and coach who has taught in Cincinnati Public Schools for 28 years.

        Mr. Engel asked the board to reconsider its athletic eligibility policy that requires students to maintain a C average with passing grades in core academic subjects. That standard is more stringent than most others in southwest Ohio districts and stricter than the Ohio High School Athletic Association minimum.


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