September 21, 2014

Elyria
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Lorain Council drops charter school plan

LORAIN — The possibility of another charter school moving to Lorain was all but killed Monday by City Council.
An ordinance that would rezone the Colorado Avenue Industrial Complex so that 8.6 acres of land could be sold for Constellation Community Schools to build a 100,000-square foot facility to serve kindergartners through 12th-graders was tabled in committee, effectively guaranteeing the issue won’t be considered again as proposed.
“It shouldn’t be brought up again,” Councilman Greg Holcomb, D-6th Ward said, “at least not in its current format.”
Despite pleas from a half-dozen parents who currently send their children to the elementary and middle charter schools already in Lorain — who asked that the Council respect their right to choose where to send their children — Council unanimously sided with a handful of upset residents and state Sen. Joe Koziura, who spoke at the meeting, said siding with the charter schools would be the same as casting a vote against the public school system.  The Lorain school district recently cut 246 of its teachers and is expected to cut about 50 more employees due to financial reasons, which it blames in part on the loss of funding from students moving to charter schools. Without the cuts, the district anticipated being $4.75 million in debt by June 30.
Councilman Dan Given, D-at large, said the Council wasn’t condoning the school board’s financial blunders, and he said he expects to see an improvement in the way the board operates.
Given told Lorain Schools spokesman Dean Schnurr, who asked Council not to approve the ordinance on behalf of the district, that the school board was essentially asking City Council to prevent competition from moving in, which Given did not appreciate.
“Take this back to your bosses:  What you’re asking for we are hearing, but they need to answer to the public for what happened to all the money. You have to look at why kids are leaving and find out what’s not working,” Given said.
 Contact Adam Wright at 329-7151 or awright@chroniclet.com.