Charter Schools Recruit Brookhaven High School Students

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Brookhaven High School is scheduled to close in June. Area charter schools are competing for the school's current students.(Photo: Mandie Trimble, WOSU News Reporter)
Brookhaven High School is scheduled to close in June. Area charter schools are competing for the school's current students.(Photo: Mandie Trimble, WOSU News Reporter)

The scheduled closing of Brookhaven High School in June has upended lives of hundreds of Columbus high school students. The class of 2014 will be the last to graduate from the Karl Road school. Younger students will have to change schools. That has unleashed competition for students between the district and area charter schools.

Some Brookhaven students dismayed

When Brookhaven juniors Nautica Jordan and Kaliyah Hagens learned they would have to attend a different school for their senior year, disappointment and anxiety now fill their school days.

When they said they were going to close Brookhaven it just feels like it’s nothing for us. It’s over, like drop out, nobody cares. We can’t go to a different school and be ourself.

Nautica and Kaliyah and hundreds of other Brookhaven freshman, sophomores, and juniors must decide by the end of the month where they will go to school next year.

The distict will move Brookhaven students to either Mifflin High School or Whetstone High Schools.

North side charter schools recruit Brookhaven students

But charter schools are using the closing to aggressively recruit Bookhaven students. Brookhaven teacher Jeff Grace.

“Ever since the announcement was made our students have been getting three and four letters a day from charter schools,” says Grace

And the area around Brookhaven has many charter schools including Life Skills High School just a couple of miles away. Superintendent Joe Buckalew says the charter school is definitely reaching out to Brookhaven students.

We’ve got plenty of empty seats

Life skills principal Jordan Argus adds he’s been promoting the school to parents of Brookhaven students through word of mouth.

“We have some informational calls where families aren’t quite ready to make the transition but they want to know what their options are. So we love letting them know what we do,” Argus says.

Financial stakes

The stakes are high for both charter and city schools. About $5,700 in state education funds follow each student whether they attend a charter or a city school. So, if just a fifth of the 521 students enrolled at Brookhaven decide to attend a charter school next year, the Columbus School district would lose more than a half-million dollars in state funding.

Columbus is pushing back against the charter school’s recruitment. Spokesman Jeff Warner says officials will meet with Brookhaven parents and students beginning next week in an effort to keep them enrolled in district schools. Extra-curriculars will be among selling points

Many of the charter schools don’t have those athletic and other extra-curricular programs that public school districts can provide.

The Columbus school board last week decided to close Brookhaven in part to give parents and students time to plan for next year. Students and parents face an unexpected decision — a decision made harder by recruiters from charter schools

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