CLEVELAND -- About 750 students were left scrambling on Monday after money troubles -- including a lawsuit over payments owed to a bus company -- led to the shutdown of Greater Heights Academy.
Roughly 450 families were affected by the charter school's abrupt closing, school spokeswoman Bess Vrettos said. Officials on Monday were trying to help displaced students find new schools…
The Ohio Department of Education withheld its November payment to Greater Heights because of concerns about its financial solvency, said spokeswoman Karla Warren. The school received $6.8 million in state funding in 2007-08.
"Once we figured out we had no funding coming to the schools, we had no choice but to suspend the operation," said Kwa David Whitaker of the Ashe Culture Center, which is Greater Heights' sponsor…
Greater Heights was ranked in academic emergency by the state in August, having met none of 29 standards in the past school year.
This was the fifth year of operation for the school, whose enrollment peaked at 1,056 students in 2006-07…
Greater Heights' difficulties were outlined in a Sept. 22 notice from Whitaker that it was in danger of being closed down. He cited poor academic performance, failure to provide complete financial reports and make sponsorship payments, problems with special education services and delays in renovating the eighth floor at the downtown building.
Katie Feldman, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, said her organization has filed complaints with the state after discovering that Greater Heights Academy was providing minimal special education services last year and no services this school year…
The academy was sued in August for just under $600,000 by a bus company called First Student Inc. of Cincinnati. That suit is pending in federal court in Cleveland.
Another company, Community Bus Services of Youngstown, sued for $831,000 in September and got the court to basically seize the school's assets, tying up state funding for October. That led the Ohio Department of Education to withhold the November funding, which might have been seized as well…
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Greater Heights Academy
CLEVELAND CHARTER SCHOOL GREATER HEIGHTS ACADEMY ABRUPTLY CLOSES; November 17, 2008; The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH)