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Richard Allen charter schools losing sponsor, say they’ll remain open

The Ohio Department of Education is terminating its sponsorship of the four Richard Allen charter schools in southwest Ohio, but school leaders say they will remain open next school year.

Michelle Thomas, superintendent of Richard Allen Schools, said Friday the group has “already secured another sponsor,” but will not announce who that is until the school’s board signs final documents.

She said the board’s next meeting is in May.

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ODE lists four Richard Allen Schools, but they are actually grouped at three sites — two Dayton buildings serving 500 kindergarten through eighth-graders a half-mile apart on Salem Avenue, plus a K-6 school serving 160 students in Hamilton.

Ohio charter schools are required to have a sponsor that handles big-picture oversight issues. Richard Allen Schools’ current sponsor is ODE’s Office of School Sponsorship.

State officials first said their reasons for terminating sponsorship were “failure to meet student performance requirements, failure to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal management, and other good cause.”

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Richard Allen officials appealed at a March 7 hearing, and ODE rescinded its findings on academics and finances, but said it would still terminate the sponsorship June 30 for “other good cause.”

ODE officials did not respond Friday to requests for explanation of that cause.

“We agreed to disagree, to part ways,” Thomas said. “There was no bad blood or anything, and we were already actively looking for a new sponsor anyway since September.”

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The Richard Allen schools in Dayton both got F’s in Achievement on the most recent state report card. Richard Allen II also got an F in year-over-year progress, while Richard Allen Academy earned a B. The Richard Allen III school in Hamilton got a D in Achievement and a C in Progress.

The Richard Allen schools switched day-to-day management companies this school year. Thomas said Educational Management and Development Group is wrapping up its first year and is under contract to continue with the schools next year.

The previous management company, Institute of Management and Resources, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month.

RELATED: State works on new strategic plan for schools

Thomas said all Richard Allen schools are accepting applications for next year.

“We’re excited about the new management company as well as the new sponsorship that’s coming,” Thomas said. “I’ll be happy when we can announce who that sponsor is. But we’re actively enrolling and we’re looking forward to our 20th year.”

Kaitlin Schroeder contributed to this report.

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