Ohio Education Gadfly
Volume 6, Number 7
April 11, 2012
Fordham has served as an authorizer of charter schools in Ohio since mid-2005. Our schools have been mainly in Ohio’s urban core—including Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus—and the vast majority of their students are poor and minority.
This year, we added two more schools to our sponsorship portfolio, both located in Scioto County near Ohio’s southern tip on the shores of the Ohio River, i.e. what most would term the Appalachian region of the Buckeye State. Families and children there face challenges as daunting as those in Ohio’s toughest urban neighborhoods. Scioto is one of the state’s poorest counties with an unemployment rate of 12.7 percent (the state average is 8.5 percent). It has also been ground zero for the state’s opiate epidemic: It has the third-highest overdose death rate of all 88 counties in Ohio.
Together the Sciotoville Elementary School (grades K-4) and Sciotoville Community School (grades 5-12) serve about 440 students. This represents about 1 in 5 children who attend a K-12 school in the local Portsmouth City School District (the home district for most Sciotoville students). The percentage of kids attending charters in that district matches the rate in Cincinnati.
Sciotoville Community School became a charter in September 2001 when the district decided to close East High School. The master plan called for busing Sciotoville students to other buildings in Portsmouth, some of them more than an hour away.