Education Union Ends Plans To Start Charter School

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - The Akron Education Association has dropped plans to become the only teachers' union in Ohio to operate a charter school.

"We were at a point where we had to make a decision if we would be able to get started with it in September," Neil Quirk, vice president of the association, said Tuesday.

The union had planned to start Akron Teachers Electronic Classroom to compete with another Akron charter school for teen-age dropouts. Charter schools operate with tax dollars that would otherwise go to public schools, and they can be controlled by private boards.

Charter schools get about $5,000 in local and state tax money for each pupil. The money goes to the school that enrolls the child. About 480 former Akron high school students were enrolled in Life Skills Center, a computer technology charter school.

"One of our concerns was that we might end up just moving kids over (to a charter school) rather than attracting kids back. That was the real financial issue," Quirk said.

He said the teachers' union decided not to start a school to compete for students who may be looking for academic programs that are easier than in public school.

A message was left Tuesday for John Morris, chief executive officer at Whitehat Management Co., which runs Life Skills Center.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)