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YOUNGSTOWN Group plans charter school



Published: Wed, September 26, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Legacy Academy needs approval from Lucas County Educational Service Center.

By RON COLE

VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- The leaders of Calvary Christian Academy hope to open a new publicly funded charter school next month on the South Side.

The school, called Legacy Academy, would enroll up to 300 pupils from kindergarten through 10th grade and will be housed in an old addition to Mount Calvary Pentecostal Church on Oak Hill Avenue.

Fifth school: Legacy would be the fifth charter school in the city but the first to get approval from the Lucas County Educational Service Center in Toledo.

Peg Hull, charter school coordinator for Lucas County ESC, said the county has approved Legacy's application and now is negotiating a contract.

She said much work remains before the contract is approved and the school can open, including a site visit by Lucas County officials.

"There's just a whole lot of paperwork that needs to be done," she said.

Deborah Benton, Legacy's publicist, said the school hopes to open in October, although no exact date has been set. She said the school is accepting enrollment daily at the church.

Charter schools are privately operated schools that get state funding and do not charge tuition. State law allows the schools to open only if sponsored and approved by the Ohio Department of Education, the local school board, Lucas County ESC or the University of Toledo.

Other schools: Youngstown's other four charter schools -- Eagle Heights Academy, Summit Academy, Life Skills Center and Youngstown Community School -- all received approval through the state education department.

Hull said Lucas County has approved 15 charter school applications since lawmakers passed charter school legislation in 1997. Twelve schools are located in Lucas County, and one each in Akron, Ottawa County and now Youngstown.

Calvary Christian Academy, a private, tuition-funded religious school headed by Bishop Norman L. Wagner of Mount Calvary Pentecostal Church, closed at the end of last school year after a legal dispute with the city public schools.

Legacy Academy also will be under Wagner's direction, Benton said.

"We have experienced great obstacles over the years while operating Calvary Christian Academy, but the people of this community have spoken and compelled us not to give up on providing this alternative in education for our children," Wagner said in a press release.

Separate operations: Benton said the church, Calvary Christian Academy and Legacy Academy are separate operations.

"It's a completely different setup," Benton said. "It's a whole different ballgame."

State law requires that charter schools be nonreligious. While Calvary Christian Academy had chapel services and Christian education classes, Legacy Academy will not, Benton said.




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