Dayton Public Schools voted six to one to keep Charity Adams Earley Academy as an all-girls school and add grades seventh through eighth to the building at a board meeting last week.
The decision came after DPS announced earlier this year that Charity Adams would be co-ed next fall. DPS superintendent Elizabeth Lolli cited overcrowding at the other two elementary schools near Charity Adams as the reason for the proposal.
Fairview Elementary and Belle Haven Elementary are very overcrowded, Lolli said, and there is also some overcrowding at Valerie. These elementary schools are in the northwest part of Dayton. Lolli cited a growing number of immigrant families in the area as part of the reason for the overcrowding.
Lolli said capacity for Fairview, Bellhaven and Charity is 477 students. Currently, Bellhaven has 459 students, Charity has 219 students and Fairview has 482 students. Valerie can take up to 550 students and has 563 enrolled.
Lolli noted not enough girls may enroll at the school to have a full seventh and eighth grade class. Earlier board meetings suggested that Charity Adams students often go onto Stivers School for the Arts, the districts’ most prestigious middle and high school, which starts students at seventh grade.
Lolli suggested using two trailers to relieve overcrowding at the two elementary schools at least temporarily. The board has not yet made a decision on that suggestion.
Board member Joe Lacey was the single no vote on adding grades to Charity Adams and having it stay open for at least one year as an all-girls school. He cited the overcrowding at other schools as the reason for his no vote.
“But to have a school that was so empty and have overcrowded schools surrounding it at the expense of other schools - it just doesn’t seem equitable to me,” Lacey said. “And that’s why I’m planning on voting down to this because I like the original proposal.”
Board president Chrisondra Goodwine voted yes to keeping Charity Adams open as an all-girls school for another year but said there is a chance the building could become co-ed next year. She encouraged people to continue enrolling their students in Charity Adams but agreed with Lacey’s comment about it not feeling equitable to keep one school with lower enrollment as a single-sex school.
“It is my hope that individuals in our community show that they want this program to remain in history by not only enrolling in it but also encouraging other individuals,” Goodwine said.
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