Ohio Education Officials Investigating Special Education Program At Charter School


UPDATED: Tuesday April 17, 2012 9:16 AM

The Ohio Board of Education is investigating a central Ohio charter school’s special education program, and the school’s sponsors may now shut it down.

ScholARTS Preparatory and Career Center for Children opened in 2004, and parents said they have been pleased.

"I like the school, they are very active in the community and as far as having the parents come in and help the kids and hands on activities,” said Andrew Anderson.

The Ohio Department of Education has a different opinion.

Officials made a surprise visit to the charter school on the near east side of Columbus on Wednesday.

Education officials said they went into the charter school to make sure students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are having their needs met.

They said there have been serious issues with the school following federal guidelines.

"When we say we have identified systemic issues we have reviewed enough of the IEP's that some of the recurring issues tend to reoccur,” said Jim Herrholtz, Associate Superintendent, Division of Learning.

The school’s sponsor, KidsCount Dayton, said it had no idea that the state had problems with the student’s IEP’s until they were contacted Wednesday morning.

In fact, the sponsor had considered pulling its backing of the school last month for an entirely different reason.

“We saw that the school was becoming insolvent, so we needed to have that corrected or obviously there are no funds and the school needs to close,” said Ethel Harris, Director of KidsCount of Dayton, Inc.

Harris, said it has never been their goal to close schools, but it's clear that is the only choice.

“If they are not receiving the proper education or they are not receiving the funds to continue their education we have to step in and do something about it,” she added.

Harris said KidsCount will stop working with the school at the end of the month, leaving parents with no option but to find a new school.

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