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FWCS, EACS prepare for influx of students from revoked charters

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 8:49 am

While sudden for affected students and families, the announcement of the looming revocations of the charters for three schools in Fort Wayne – Timothy L. Johnson Academy, Imagine MASTer Academy and Imagine Schools on Broadway – actually has one benefit: timing.

Ball State’s announcement on Tuesday that it was revoking the charters on June 30 came as the two public school districts likely to see an influx of students – Fort Wayne Community Schools and East Allen County Schools – are in the process of allowing students to submit requests for which schools they would like to attend for the 2013-2014 school year.

According to Tamyra L. Kelly, the public relations liaison for EACS, the district’s school choice fair is set for Sunday, Feb. 10, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at New Haven High School.

Students and their parents have a bit more time to research EACS’ newest venture, East Allen University.

The partnership between EACS and Vincennes University, meant to allow students to achieve a Core 40 diploma and possibly an associate’s degree while still in high school, has a deadline of Feb. 22 to apply for the 2013-2014 school year, Kelly said.

Kelly said EACS had lost about 100 students to charters and empathizes with the decisions that families will have to make, but said the district will do its best to welcome any and all new applicants.

“We’ll do our best to make sure that we offer a smooth transition to those students who want to call East Allen home,” Kelly said.

Meanwhile, some families weren’t waiting, according to Krista Stockman, a spokeswoman for FWCS.

Stockman said Tuesday afternoon that the district, in the aftermath of Ball State’s announcement, already had parents inquire about the possibility of immediately moving their students.

“We’re trying to be as accommodating as possible,” Stockman said. “The good news, if there is any in a situation like this, is that parents have some options to choose from.”

FWCS has had tours of its elementary, middle and high schools and other learning centers open to interested families on the previous two Tuesdays and will have one more next week. Stockman also said, in light of Ball State’s announcement, parents who can’t participate on Tuesday can call a specific school and likely be able to set up a tour with minimal difficulty.

Students are initially assigned to schools based on where they reside, but they are allowed to choose to attend any of the district’s other schools.

The deadline to complete and submit a transfer request is Feb. 1, and FWCS conducts lotteries to determine which students will be able to transfer if there are more applicants than spots. Those lotteries will be held Feb. 22, with elementary students set for 9 a.m. and middle and high school drawings set for 1 p.m.

The lotteries are open to the public and will be held in the board room at the Grile Administrative Center, 1200 S. Clinton St.

Stockman said the district would also be able to accommodate a large influx of students – the number of students displaced by the closure of the three charters should easily top 1,000 – and that FWCS could be in a position where it would add teachers and/or support staff.