Wednesday, August 07, 2002

State seeks plan for Sabis school

Educators hear intentions; parents eyeing options

By Jennifer Mrozowski,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

       State education officials came to Cincinnati on Tuesday to discuss the fate of an embattled Mount Auburn charter school, while hundreds of parents wonder if they should find another place to send their children.

       The officials wanted to know the school board's plan for a new location and education system for the former Sabis International School, and its plans to hire teachers and a director before school starts Sept. 16.

       "We have some questions about their intentions for the future of the school and wanted to discuss them personally," said J.C. Benton, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education.

       The school board last year enraged parents when it fired the for-profit management company that ran the 2-year-old, 650-student school. The board said the company was too concerned with profit.

       The management company, Cincinnati Education Management LLC - an affiliate of Minnesota-based Sabis Educational Systems Inc.- had hired the teachers and former director, provided the educational curriculum and owned the Mount Auburn building where Sabis International School was housed. The management company last month filed a complaint to evict the board and school from the Mount Auburn site, saying the board has not paid rent amounting to $197,250 for June and July. The board leases the building.

       School officials told the state they hope to close on a new location in the next few weeks. The board also outlined a new school curriculum modeled after the Florida State University School, a charter school in Tallahassee.

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