Polly Fox Academy likely to close its doors

Polly Fox Academy likely to close its doors
(Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - A major resource for teen moms in northwest Ohio will likely close its doors this summer.

Polly Fox Academy on Jefferson Avenue, the same building as Phoenix Academy is in financial trouble.

At one point almost 150 girls walked in and out of the Polly Fox Academy doors every day, with the goal to graduate, all while being pregnant or raising a young child.

"Polly Fox has been an amazing resource to this community and to the many alumni that have walked out of this door. These were girls who never thought they had the chance of getting a diploma in their hand," said Jama Greene, the Coordinator of Student Services for Polly Fox.

Teen birth rate has d ropped drastically in Lucas County from 843 in 2006 to 369, ten years later for teenagers 15 to 19.The enrollment has done the same for the academy. In the same year with high teen births in 2006, 148 students attended, compared to only 51 now.

"It's a bittersweet feeling for me here at Polly Fox and for many of us because we know the effects of teen pregnancy and the teen birth rate," said Greene.

The school's funding from the state is based on enrollment, and right now, the school needs around a half million dollars to remain open.

They accept anyone grades 7 to12, and up to 22 years old.

This is the only school like this northwest Ohio after opening its doors in the fall of 2003. School leaders said they've been trying to fundraise but it hasn't been enough.

The principal of Polly Fox, Jodi Johns said this news is not a complete shock.

"If we had 100 to 120 students enrolled, it would be a different story. But because we are down to about 50 students that really cuts our funding in about half of what we would need to keep the school going," said Johns.

Without the money, the board is expected to vote to shut the doors for good this summer.

Toledo Public Schools sponsors the school, but has no financial obligation.

If the school does close, leaders will effort an individualized plan for each student. The girls can choose to go to a TPS school, or another area school.

Principal Johns said there is a lot of apprehension right now and these girls are worried about their future.

"If they are going to be able to get the services and the help that we provide here. We're a small family, we are a small school, the teachers who have been here for years and years," said Johns.

The vote by the board happens in June.

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