By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Bowling Green City School officials breathed a collective sigh of relief when every school building in the district was removed from the Ohio Improvement Process. That change was based on progress the district made in student growth.
However, Superintendent Francis Scruci sent out a letter to Kenwood parents on Friday explaining a new development. Despite being considered worthy of being taken off the OIP list, Kenwood has been designated as an “EdChoice” school.
“It’s contradictory,” Scruci said Friday. “Here’s a building that was determined to be an independent building through the OIP. It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”
The EdChoice designation means that parents of Kenwood students can access scholarships for their students to attend parochial or private schools – with Bowling Green City Schools footing the bill.
Scruci has referred in the past to the State Report Card as a “flawed system.”
This latest designation only reinforces his belief.
“By no means am I saying that as a school or district that we do not embrace accountability,” he said.
But the data used to designate Kenwood as an EdChoice school were the K-3 literacy results from 2013-14 and 2017-18.
Since 2014, the district has made major curriculum changes – which resulted in the lifting of the OIP ranking.
“This was done due to our teachers and district changing the way we approached instruction and meeting the needs of all our students,” Scruci wrote to parents.
In his letter, he assured parents that Kenwood is delivering the same quality educations that have been provided in the past.
“This designation should not cause alarm or a loss of faith in the instruction provided by the hard-working professionals that are present at Kenwood Elementary,” he said.
When contacted after sending out the letter, Scruci said the flawed state system does not reflect the quality of the education provided at Kenwood.
“If I had a child of elementary age, my kids would go to Kenwood, and I’d be very comfortable with that,” he said.
The “EdChoice” designation is fairly new in Ohio, and sticks with a school for two years.
“We’re pretty optimistic it will be two years and we’ll be out of it,” Scruci said.”There’s still quality education being delivered at Kenwood. The teachers care.”
However, until then, parents will be allowed to pull their children from the school and enroll them in private schools – at the expense of Bowling Green School District.
“That’s on the public school dime,” Scruci said.
And even if Kenwood sheds the EdChoice designation in two years, the expenses could linger. According to Scruci, the state program allows parents of kindergartners to take them out of the public school and place them in private facilities all the way through graduation.