Columbus Academy of Literacy and Mathematics

A Columbus charter school that has been open only a few months will close its doors for good today. It simply can't afford to stay open any longer.

Nearly 90 students who attended the Columbus Academy of Literacy and Mathematics must find new schools to finish out the year.

The school, known as CALM, opened last fall in a wing of a North Side church. At its peak, the elementary school had 109 students - not enough to support its operation, said its sponsor. Most of the students live within Columbus City Schools boundaries.

The literacy and math academy was solid academically, said Todd Hanes, assistant superintendent at the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio, which authorized and oversaw the school.

"There's not that misdeed" that has forced an abrupt end to some other charter schools, Hanes said. "This was a sad situation."

Charter schools need about 120 students to afford a principal, intervention specialists or special-education workers, and teachers for each grade, Hanes said…

"It was so devastating for families and teachers and myself," said Principal Heather Regis. "We hate how this has affected the families."

The school was founded by two women who once were affiliated with Chase Academy for the Communication Arts, a Columbus charter that closed suddenly last February and suffered enrollment and financial woes. Celia Jones, who was fired shortly before Chase closed, is listed in state business filings as an incorporator of the CALM school…

Hanes said he knows a midyear closing is difficult, but it was the responsible thing to do. The other options were to let the school accumulate debt or make deep cuts.

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