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Vindy details the troubled history of a charter school trying to locate in Norton

By John Published: January 26, 2012

A few weeks ago I wrote about a charter school created in the Liberty school district near Youngstown that is trying to open shop in Norton, an excellent rated district. I received some much-appreciated insight from Robert Guttersohn of the Youngstown Vindicator, who has been investigating the formation of the charter schools at Liberty. The Vindicator published his in-depth story on Sunday.

He's got some great details on how the plan to open the conversion charter schools within the district was sold to school board members.

Former board President Diana DeVito explained it this way: If 100 of Liberty's 1,500 students attended the conversion school, the district would continue to receive state funding for the 100 students. Plus the conversion school also would receive the same funding for the same students, in effect doubling the revenue.

In addition, board members said $225,000 in federal grants given annually to Liberty's conversion schools could allow for devices such as iPads to be shared between conversion and non-conversion students, thus enhancing education for all.

When the administration and board members were told the district would benefit financially and academically, the plan received broad support.

The district discovered, however, that that's not how it works.  When students leave a district to go to a charter school or use an EdChoice voucher at a private school or attend another district through open enrollment, the state aid generally is deducted from the district's state aid (there is some debate about exactly how much is transferred). However, districts cannot double-bill Columbus by creating their own conversion schools.
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