Toledo Charter Schools Try to Forestall Shutdowns

TOLEDO -- They've had a month to chew on this harsh reality. Several of Toledo's charter schools got poor rankings from the State. Now leaders are looking for ways to improve those schools -- before the State starts shutting them down, reports News 11's Tanieya Lewis.

The schools that have fallen into academic emergency and remain there for three consecutive years will be forced to close their doors in the year 2009.

Eagle Academy prides itself on taking in TPS' struggling students -- and nurturing them.

"They go above and beyond what they actually have to do," says Eagle parent April Garner. Despite the improvement, School Leader Terrence Franklin has seen in each child, the school is now under academic watch.

Only a year ago it was under academic emergency.

"We're not perfect, and we definitely have a long way to go. But we're committed to that," Franklin explains.

Now Eagle's sponsor is worried about the future of this school -- and more than half of the schools it covers -- because none of them are meeting State standards.

"At some point, we will see the State laws kick in, and we will have no choice but to close down those schools," says Allison Perz, executive director of the Ohio Council of Community Schools, which she says must act quickly to keep the schools open.

Acting quickly means she and other officers will visit each of its 50 buildings. During the visits, the schools will be analyzed from top to bottom.

"We're doing the best that we can for the parents and the students who have made the jump and the choice to enroll in our schools. We have the obligation. And if we're not going to do it, shame on us," Perz says.

Franklin says he welcomes the challenge. "We know we're making a difference. It's not me making that up or putting a spin on anything. I encourage anyone to come and just look at our numbers and look at our data," he says.

But the ultimate test will come two years from now when the state starts to decide which schools will run -- and which have run out of time.

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