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3 charters apply for sponsorship

Three proposed charter schools have asked the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to serve as the nonprofit sponsor that they are required to have under state law.
The schools, which would open for the 2015-16 school year, include:
  • Citizens Academy III, which would be in the Lee-Harvard area. The school, a project of the Breakthrough Schools group, would start with kindergarten through second grade and eventually add the third through fifth grades.
  • Erudite Academy, planned for the  Buckeye-Shaker-Larchmere area. Educator Katherine Coverdale submitted the application. The school would start with kindergarten and first grade and expand to include up to eighth grade.
  • Stonebrook Montessori, which plans to occupy a building on East Blvd. The school would begin with prekindergarten through second grade and expand up to the sixth grade within five years.
The District will interview the applicants in late January and make recommendations to the Board of Education in February. The board will vote on the recommendations in February.
Collaboration with charters is part of The Cleveland Plan, a state-approved blueprint for education reform in the city.
A group supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently awarded a $100,000 grant that will help CMSD work with charters to turn around low-performing schools, improve services to special-education students and expand charters' access to District buildings. CMSD previously received $1.5 million from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to simplify the District's registration system and work to include charter schools in that system. 
CMSD sponsors seven charter schools affiliated with Breakthrough, as well as Promise Academy, a charter that the District established for non-traditional students in grades nine through 12. As their sponsor, CMSD holds the charters accountable for performance, receives 3 percent of the schools' state funding and counts the students' test scores with those of the District.
The District also has partnerships with six other charters. Under The Cleveland Plan, charters that are sponsored by or have partnerships with the District share 1 mill of a 15-mill levy that voters approved in 2012.