In a post yesterday, we had a brief note about the “parental trigger” in the amended budget bill passed by the House Finance Committee.  They reduced Kasich’s proposal to take over failing schools into a pilot program for the schools within the Columbus City School District.

Sec. 3302.042. (A) The department of education annually shall rank all schools statewide that are operated by a city, exempted village, or local school district in order according to the schools’ performance index scores.

(B) This section shall operate as a pilot project thatapplies to any school that has been ranked in the lowest five percent of performance index scores statewide for three or more consecutive school years and is operated by the Columbus city school district.

After some quick calculations to the scores for the past three years, we have the candidates.  A total of 12 schools meet the thin criteria to be eligible for a parent reform initiative.  Two of those schools, however, have closed (Beery Middle School, Deshler Elementary School) so are taken off of the list.

Another, Columbus Global Academy, is an extremely unlikely candidate.  From their website: “The Columbus Global Academy is a transitional program designed to meet the needs of students from around the world who have recently arrived in the United States, many of whom have little or no literacy skills in English or in their native language.” This is not your traditional school program and both ODE and the CCS School Board are likely to veto any proposed takeover if it were to occur (per provisions in the bill).

And then there were the Columbus 9:

Broadleigh Elementary School
Champion Middle School
Fairwood Alternative Elementary School
Hamilton STEM Academy (K-6)
Heyl Avenue Elementary School
Lincoln Park Elementary School
Ohio Avenue Elementary School
Southmoor Middle School
Weinland Park Elementary School

One of the many things the bill omits is anything that would address a case where the school has already begun instituting reforms required by the The State of Ohio Accountability Notebook.  Columbus has already made changes to most of these buildings to remain in compliance with existing state laws.  Will a parent reform effort be allowed to supersede the corrective actions specified by the Ohio Department of Education?

If so, then the following reforms implemented in the last couple of years will be for naught:

Broadleigh Elementary School – new principal
Champion Middle School – new staff and principal
Fairwood Alternative Elementary School – new staff and principal (for next year)
Hamilton STEM Academy (K-6) – instituted new curriculum
Heyl Avenue Elementary School – new principal
Lincoln Park Elementary School – new staff and principal (for next year)
Ohio Avenue Elementary School – new principal
Southmoor Middle School – new principal

If those changes are allowed time to take shape and and parent proposals take a back seat, then that leaves us with:

Weinland Park

And what exactly needs to happen for the parent reform initiative to kick in?

The parents or guardians of at least fifty per cent of the students enrolled . . . sign and file with the school district treasurer a petition requesting the district board of education to implement one of the . . . reforms in the school, and if the validity and sufficiency of the petition is certified  . . . the board shall implement the requested reform in the next school year.

So how likely is that to take place?  Consider some details:

As reported by ODE for 09-10, 21 percent of the students at Weinland Park are at the school for less than one year.  That also means that the number of parents involved enough to sign the petition is around 80%, with the student population constantly changing.  So if 50% of the parents need to sign, but only 80% are around, the parent(s) leading this effort must obtain the signatures of approximately 63% of the parents.  And Weinland Park serves a population categorized as 93.7% “economically disadvantaged” in a building that already runs a non-standard year-round schedule.  For additional perspective, the number of economically disadvantaged students is 43% statewide.  I’m going to take a wild guess and project that these families have greater concerns than taking over a school.  Just a guess.

So which Columbus School will really be first?

Gimme a break.  The casinos aren’t even accepting bets on this one.