- Associated Press - Sunday, May 17, 2015

CINCINNATI (AP) - Cincinnati’s business leaders and educators are creating a $25 million public-private partnership called “the accelerator” to increase the number of quality schools available to the city’s poorest students.

The partnership aims to double the number of spots available at high-performing schools in the city from 5,000 to 10,000, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported (https://cin.ci/1GRcE6K).

The plan is to double the number again in five years.

The funding will be split three ways, with $15 million going toward creating new schools, $5 million toward training teachers and attracted new talent and $5 million for operational costs, such as paying a CEO, which the project has yet to do.

There are 50,000 in the public school’s geographical territory and an estimated 46 percent of those students are in low-quality educational seats, according to data provided by the accelerator. The data shows that 15 percent are in high quality educational seats, which the accelerator defines as a school that earns at least an A or B in state ratings for student achievement or growth.

The accelerator found that two of the highest performing schools serve students from underprivileged backgrounds.

“Within our community, the economically disadvantaged students have limited access to the kinds of schools that would make the most difference,” said Jeb Head, a member of the accelerator, who is chief executive of a textile company based in suburban Cincinnati.

“An element of fairness in our community that needs to be addressed,” he said.

Cincinnati Public Schools Superintendent Mary Ronan said the public schools lose nearly 8,000 kids each year to charter schools. She said the partnership is about getting the best schools open for low-income students.

Opponents have said the accelerator plan is just another charter experiment.

“We already know the charter experiment hasn’t done so well in Ohio, said Michelle Dillingham, a member of the Cincinnati Educational Justice Coalition. “Why continue to experiment on our kids?” she said.

The partnership still needs to raise $9.5 million to reach its $25 million goal.

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Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, https://www.enquirer.com


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