[Hpn] Columbus, OH - Controversial charter school that serves homeless kids may close

Editor Editor <hccjr@bellsouth.net>
Sat, 20 Jul 2002 11:32:46 -0500

Controversial charter school that serves homeless kids may close
Facility in Columbus in jeopardy after change made in federal law

By Charley Gillespie - AP - The Cincinnati Enquirer- July 18, 2002

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Students at the Teresa A. Dowd charter school learn reading,
writing and other traditional subjects.

They also get food to take to their families, help brushing their teeth and new
clothes if needed.

The school is one of 41 in the nation for homeless children. It has been made
illegal by a change in federal law effective July 1 that prohibits segregating
homeless children.

Only six of the schools, in California and Arizona, are exempt because of
lobbying by lawmakers in their areas.

Dowd opened in 1999 to provide stability for homeless children struggling in
regular public schools.

“These kids seek love here,” said Principal Billie-Jo Altier. “I must get a
hundred hugs a day.”

However, some advocates for the homeless argue that such schools deprive the
children of developing normal relationships with their peers.

“There is no reason why homeless children should not be in the same schools as
everybody else,” said Patricia Julianelle, education attorney with the
Washington-based National Law Center of Homelessness and Poverty.

“Being homeless is isolating enough,” she said.

The Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act, which was reauthorized in
January, is intended to help homeless students get the same education provided
to other children.

Dowd's executive director, Robert Hall, says his school is different because
parents choose to send their children there and because students attend for only
a year.

Mr. Hall said financial problems - not legal problems - may be the downfall for
one of Ohio's first charter schools.

A three-year federal grant for new charter schools that provided $100,000 each
year ends this fall, and the school is worried that money will run out midyear.

Ten board members resigned in June, and the remaining three were debating
whether to close the school.

source page:

H. C. [Sonny] Covington, Editor
Homeless and Housing News