EACS Proposal: Sponsor A Harding Charter School

By Maureen Mespell
By John W. Davis

January 18, 2011 Updated Oct 22, 2013 at 4:10 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Could Harding High School become a district-sponsored charter school?

The idea was proposed Tuesday night by East Allen County Schools Board Vice President Reverend Stephen Terry.

He said the idea is a combination of ideas brought to him by parents, local pastors and community members.

Terry said the school would be a public charter school and would open by fall 2011.

However, Terry's plan would need major support and approval from parents, teachers and his fellow EACS board members.

The plan is an alternative to the district current plan.

That plan calls for closing Harding and re-opening it in 2012.

That plan also mandates that no current Harding students will ever be allowed to attend the proposed Harding College & Career Academy.

If the charter school was approved, the district would most likely suspend their current Harding redesign plan.

Some parents are against that plan, because it would bus their students up to two hours a day, to predominantly white schools, three of which are in rural settings.

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Terry said it would be a "non-conversion charter school, meaning the Harding charter school would have its own outside management organization.

However, Terry shared that the district would be allowed to choose that group, seeking one with a proven-track record of working with students in low-performing schools.

"Of course the parents are saying, they we want to keep our students here but I believe the best possibility for making sure we're still raising academics is a public charter in the Harding area," said East Allen County Schools Board Vice President Rev. Stephen Terry.

Meanwhile, Terry said the district should be able to hire an outside management organization, that would fit with the district's educational goals.

Terry also believes opening the Harding public charter school by next school year is realistic.

He said hiring the right outside management organization with a proven-track record, could make the plan a reality by August 2011.

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Indiana's NewsCenter asked EACS Superintendent Dr. Karyle Green what she thought of the idea of creating an EACS sponsored Harding public charter school.

Green said she works for the East Allen County Schools Board and will support and follow any direction they approve.

Meanwhile, the EACS board approved a two-year contract extension for Dr. Karyle Green.

She was commended for holding 91 public community meetings (not including board meetings) in 2010.

Board President Janice Witte said the board wished they could compensate Green for all the extra-time she puts in.

However, she said that would not be done because of the district financial situation.




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